Tag Archives: Home buying advice

Home Buying 101

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Home Buying 101

Home Buying 101

Basic guidelines for the first time home buyer and the home buying process, simplified- Home Buying 101.

by Tracy Tkac 
Making an offer to purchase a house 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.  Most of all, your home will be the place where you will make 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 or Home Buying 101.

 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 One of the most common, is a “specific” 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 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 45 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. How much money do you need?

Final walk-through

Before closing, you will do a final walk through in the property to make sure it’s in the condition it is supposed to be in, if you have negotiated for repairs, check the receipts and repairs to make certain they were done correctly. Make sure the seller didn’t remove any fixtures, make modifications or leave behind garbage or debris. Check the plumbing, air or heat and that everything that is supposed to remain at the property is there- this your your last chance to make sure all is as it should be!

 

Settlement

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 lender will work with the settlement attorney and send you a closing disclosure statement to review at least 3 days previous to the settlement. 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.

 

Enjoy your new home

Don’t be afraid to call your realtor and ask questions, for direction or help. She is a great resource  for the big and  little things that come up when owning your own home.

Tracy Tkac
301-437-8722
Evers & Co.
Tracy@eversco.com
www.WashingtonHG.com

 

 

Ready to Buy a Home?

Ready to Buy a Home?

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Ready to Buy a Home?
Are you ready to buy a home this year? It’s time to get moving!

Laying the foundation by taking the steps to prepare will ensure a seamless transition from just dreaming about it to actually being ready to buy a home.

 Step #1

Speak with a lender.  Call or email your Realtor and ask who she recommends, Realtors work with many different lenders and will likely know who will be the best fit for your situation. A lender will talk with you about your income, debt, and credit situations and will be able to give you a price range of the homes in which you should be looking, and also tell you approximately what your monthly payment will be, including taxes. Don’t be shy, you are not obligated to anything at all. If you are not ready to speak with a lender, you can check your own credit first by following the steps below.

Make sure your credit is good and if it isn’t – fix it by paying on time and disputing any erroneous information. Every person is entitled to one free credit report annually from all three credit reporting agencies;

  • Experian
  • Equifax
  • TransUnion

Be ready to print the report or convert to PDF and save, you will only have one chance to get this information free.  https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action

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Step #2

Save money for downpayment and closing costs. If you are applying for  a conventional mortgage and put down 20% or more of the purchase price, you won’t have PMI (private mortgage insurance). There are other types of financing such as an FHA loan which only requires 3.5% down payment but very likely has a slightly higher interest rate than conventional loans. VA loans are available to those who have served and do not require private mortgage insurance like FHA and less than 20% conventional loans. Closing costs are approximately 3% of the purchase price. Learn more about types of loans and the requirements of loans below.

http://www.realtor.com/advice/finance/20-percent-down-payment-for-a-home/

Your Realtor can help you with a offer strategy if you need to ask the seller for a credit at closing to ensure you have the funds needed for closing costs. Asking for closing costs may work in the right circumstances.

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Ready to Buy A Home?

 

Step #3

Contact your Realtor. If you don’t have one,  get a referral or look on line, most home and agent searches now start at the computer or smart phone. You can research what Realtors service the area in which you would like to live. Read the reviews, pick up the phone and talk with a real estate agent to make certain the agent seems to know what they are talking about and you have a comfort level with her. Use a professional, not someone that sells 2 or 3 houses a year, but an agent that is working hard and is a career professional, and is up to date on the area and has a great track record. http://www.zillow.com/profile/Tracy-Tkac/ Ask your agent to set up an automatic email of home listings so every morning you will be emailed new home listings and not miss anything when you are ready to buy a home.

You will be ready to buy a home- chose the one that makes you happy!

 

by 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!

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

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Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

 

It is time to do the Fall Home Maintenance Checklist necessary to get your home ready for winter. Be certain to turn off your hose bibs and perform the other household chores listed below around Halloween time, enjoy the treat of a nice smooth transition into  winter rather than the trick to dealing with clogged downspouts and frozen pipes when the weather gets colder.

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

  1. Turn off your house bibs.  Locate the outside hose spigot and the corresponding inside area where the pipe comes into the house, most of the time that will be in the basement. Follow the pipe and turn the water supply off by turning the knob to the left or if the turn- off is a lever- pulling the lever to be perpendicular (across it) to the pipe.  Then go outside and turn on the hose spigot, water will drain out of the pipe. Go back inside and armed with a cup- loosen the small metal nut next to the turn off handle, water will dribble out into the cup and replace the nut. Repeat with other hose bibs, and you have winterized your outside plumbing!
  2. Clear out your gutters. You can get a ladder and do it yourself or hire a handyman. Cleaning the gutters will prevent ice blockages and water seeping into the house or pulling the gutters off and causing other damage.
  3. Change your furnace filter. This should be done monthly or quarterly depending on the type of filter you install. Also consider having the HVAC system annually services at this time.
  4. Rake the leaves on the yard and mulch. You and your neighbors will appreciate a tidy lawn even when the landscape is barren.
  5. Replace outside lightbulbs. No one wants to get on a ladder in freezing temperatures and winter brings shorter days, you will thank yourself for the exterior lighting when you really need it.
  6. Change the battery in your smoke detectors. Winter is a time of fireplaces, candles and light decorations, take precautions.
  7. Plant the last bulbs in your yard. You will be delighted by the fresh colors and beauty in the spring for the work you did in the fall.

by Tracy Tkac, Realtor

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!

 

Real Estate Disclosures

Real Estate Disclosures

Real Estate Disclosures

 

It’s standard practice in real estate to give a home a fresh coat of paint before putting it on the market. Nine out of 10 times, the intention is to show the property at its best. But every so often, the seller paints the house in hopes of covering something up.

In most parts of the country, sellers (and agents) are required to document any known defects —  whether current or past — to potential buyers. But some sellers don’t play by the rules and will try to get one past a buyer.

Whether you’re a listing a home for sale or in the market to purchase, this is what you need to know about disclosures.

What is a disclosure?

Disclosure statements, which can come in a variety of forms, are the buyer’s opportunity to learn as much as they can about the property and the seller’s experience in it.

Potential seller disclosures range from knowledge of leaky windows to work done without the benefit of a permit, to information about a major construction or development project nearby.

Not only do disclosure documents serve to inform buyers, but they can also protect the sellers from future legal action. It is the seller’s chance to reveal anything that can negatively affect the value, usefulness or enjoyment of the property.

How does a seller make a disclosure?

Disclosure laws vary from state to state, even down to the city and county level. California has some of the most stringent disclosure requirements. The law requires that sellers (and their agents) complete or sign off on dozens of documents, such as a Natural Hazards Disclosure Statement, Local and State Transfer Disclosure Statements, Advisories about Market Conditions and even Megan’s Law Disclosures.

Disclosure typically comes in the form of boilerplate documents (put together by the local or state real estate association), where the seller answers a series of yes/no questions about their home and their experience there.

Additionally, sellers must present any documented communication (between neighbors, previous owners, the seller or the agents) about a substantial defect or item that could have an adverse impact on value.

Depending on where you live, sellers can be on the hook for what they disclose (or fail to) for up to 10 years. Sellers should err on the side of caution. If you know it, put it out there. If you try to hide something, it can come back to haunt you in the form of an expensive lawsuit.

What do sellers disclose to potential buyers?

Previous improvements, renovations or upgrades done by sellers are typical disclosures, as well as whether work was done with or without permits.

Buyers should cross check the seller’s disclosures with the city building permit and zoning reports. Work completed without a permit, or approval by the municipality, may not have been performed to code, which could result in a fire or health hazard.

Other standard disclosures include the existence of pets, termite problems, neighborhood nuisances, any history of property line disputes, and defects or malfunctions with major systems or appliances. Disclosure documents often ask sellers if they are involved in bankruptcy proceedings, if there any liens on the property, and so on.

Is a disclosure the same as an inspection?

Disclosure is something given to the buyer by the seller documenting their knowledge of the property. It is not the same thing as an independent inspection by a third party. An examination may reveal defects that the seller may not have been aware of.

The buyer should always do a full property inspection, before moving forward with the purchase. The inspector checks all systems and components from the roof to the basement. Often, in the interest of the ultimate in full disclosure, a seller hires a property inspector before going on the market and supplies the written report to the buyer.

When does the buyer receive disclosure statements?

In most markets, disclosure documents are provided to buyers once the seller has accepted their offer. In addition to their inspections or loan contingency, the buyer has an opportunity to review the seller’s disclosures. If the buyer discovers something negative about the property through disclosure, she can usually back out.

In some markets, sellers provide these disclosures to the customers before an offer. Smart sellers let buyers know everything they need to know up front. It’s smart because it saves everyone time, hassle and expense by preventing deals from falling apart once they’re in escrow.

Buyers must sign off on all disclosures and reports. So it’s important to review them carefully and ask questions if you need to. Full disclosure upfront is the way to go. Providing full disclosure can help a seller. By laying their cards out, sellers can give buyers a sense of comfort or peace of mind, making their home more desirable than a competing one.

BY BRENDON DESIMONE,  Zillow

 

 

Tracy Tkac
301-437-8722
Evers & Co.
Tracy@eversco.com
www.WashingtonHG.com

 

 

Buyers Final Walk-Through

Buyers Final Walk-Through

The buyers final walk-through in real estate was designed so that the buyer can confirm the home is in the same condition as when they made their offer and had the home inspected. Its also an opportunity to make sure the seller has actually vacated.

From time to time, a buyer and seller will have negotiated any number of fixes during escrow. The walk-through gives the buyer a chance to make sure all the agreed-upon work has been done to specifications, and that everything is in working order.

Sometimes, buyers are so excited to close that they quickly whisk through the walk-through without taking time to inspect the property. This can lead to small issues once the buyers take ownership. On the other hand, the final walk-through can raise both positive and negative emotions during this final part of the sale process.

It’s smart to take the buyers final walk-through seriously. Don’t see it as simply checking a box.  You should run all the faucets and check for leaks. Flush the toilet bowls, open every window and close it and make sure the appliances work.

Here are some tips for buyers to help complete a smooth and effective walk-through.

Don’t do the walk-through the day of closing

A walk-through can uncover repairs that need to be made, but that you didn’t know about before. If you do the walk-through the same day as the closing, there may not be time to get problems remedied.

It’s not uncommon for two walk-throughs to happen. The first identifies some issues for the buyer, and the second makes sure those issues were addressed.

The alternative is to push the closing back to address the issues.  The problem here is that your lender may not have approved a delayed closing. It’s better to hammer out any issues in advance.

Use your mobile phone to check the outlets

Plug a phone into all of the outlets to make sure the electricity works. You want to avoid moving in all your stuff, only to realize some outlets don’t work, and you lack light in a bedroom.

Bring your phone and charger to the walk-through and test all the outlets. It’s quick and easy.

Be on the lookout for the sellers’ leftover belongings

Sellers are notorious for leaving junk behind, so take the time to check the garage and attic, and under the deck. The sellers may just assume you want their old paint cans or a propane tank for a future grill.

In fact, they should leave the place completely empty. Some left-behind items, such as the paint, can be toxic or require special provisions for disposal. For example, one seller left behind all kinds of used oil that needed to go to a certain, state-approved car repair shop to be disposed of properly. These unwanted items become yours after you close.

Be emotionally prepared for a surprise

Buyers often fall in love with a home that’s full of furniture, art and belongings. They see it as a home, and remember a warm feeling.

Fast-forward to the close of escrow and you’re faced with an empty home, which can feel cold, sterile or hollow.

Buyers are often surprised by how they feel entering an empty home. Not only is it absent any furniture and “stuff,” but sometimes an empty home shows its imperfections, too.

The sun may have slightly bleached floors, showing the outline of a rug. There may be carpet stains or holes in the wall from a flat-screen TV or paintings. An empty home tends to show poorly, so prepare yourself before the walk-through.

The journey toward homeownership is often a long one, filled with lots of excitement and ups and downs. The final walk-through is one of the very last steps of what could be a multiple-year process.

Consider the walk-through in advance and prepare for it mentally, emotionally and physically. Know what you want to look for, have a checklist, and keep your emotions and feelings in check. Doing so will make for a smooth ride to the close of escrow.

BY BRENDON DESIMONE – Zillow

Tracy Tkac
301-437-8722
Evers & Co.

Tracy@eversco.com
www.WashingtonHG.com

4 reasons 2016 is the year to buy a home

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4 reasons 2016 is the year to buy a home

by CNN Money

If you’ve been on the fence about buying a home, 2016 is the year to take the plunge. Mortgage rates have been bouncing around record lows for a while now. But even though they’re likely to start going up, you haven’t missed your chance to get a deal on a house. A number of factors are coming together, making next year a good time to buy, 4 reasons 2016 is the year to buy a home;
1. Home prices will finally calm down
Real estate values have been on the rise for a while, but are likely to slow their pace next year. Prices are expected to rise 3.5%, according to Zillow’s Chief Economist Svenja Gudell.
Buyers who’ve been stuck behind the wave of rising prices may finally get the chance to jump in.
And that could lead to a flood of buyers, said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at Realtor.com.
“We have the potential for about six million home sales just through the months of April through September; that is basically impossible to do,” he said.
Related: These are the most expensive housing markets
But not everyone will be in a position to take advantage.
Despite the slowdown, Zillow still expects home values to outpace wage growth, which can make it tough to afford a home, especially for lower-income buyers.
Plus, prices in the country’s hottest markets — like San Francisco, Boston and New York City — aren’t expected to pull back as much next year.
2. More homes will hit the market
The slowdown in home prices will prompt more owners to list their homes, Smoke said, giving buyers more choice.
“Because of the price appreciation they have experienced, you will have more sellers put homes on the market next year,” he said.
Related: How to buy a home without a 20% down payment
The new home market is also expected to grow in the coming year with builders focusing more on starter and middle-range homes, which will also boost inventory and make it easier for buyers.
With more homes on the market, bidding wars will become less common and prices could ease even more.
3. Dirt cheap mortgages could disappear
The Federal Reserve is widely expected to begin increasing interest rates soon, which means the window for record low mortgage rates is closing.
While rates are expected to go up gradually, higher rates push up borrowing costs and monthly mortgage payments.
“You are likely to get the best rate you will possibly see, perhaps in your lifetimes through the majority of next year, but certainly, the earlier the better,” said Smoke.
4. Rents will still hurt
Rent prices are expected to continue to climb in the new year, which means in most cities, buying will be cheaper than renting.
Even though mortgages could get more expensive, buying might still be the better deal.
Interest rates would need to rise to around 6.5% for the cost of buying to equal that of renting on a national level, according to Ralph McLaughlin, housing economist at Trulia.

CNN Money

Tracy Tkac
301-437-8722
Evers & Co.

Tracy@eversco.com
www.WashingtonHG.com

 

Buying a Home This Fall?

Buying a Home This Fall?

autumn-homes

DenisTangneyJr/iStock

Buying a Home This Fall?

Spring might be the most popular time to buy a home, but there’s a real case to be made for fall: It’s cooler, so you’ll have less competition at the open houses. Because it’s considered the off-season, you’re more likely to get (or make) a deal. And, with the season’s variable weather, you can get a good idea of what the home’s like in hot and cool times alike.

After all, you’re buying a home that will fit your needs in every season—even if you can only scope it out during one.

That means you need to look for things “that aren’t as noticeable in the fall as they might be in the winter or summer months,” says Realtor® Andrea Davitt of Lauer Realty Group in Madison, WI.

Want to make sure that amazing autumnal escape continues to be fantastic year-round? Keep these six things in mind.

1. Check out the air conditioner

First: Does the place even have an air conditioner? This might be easy to spot if you’re house hunting during unseasonably warm temps. But if the weather’s already turned, heed this: The air might be cool now, but it won’t be forever. And with summer nine (long!) months away, it’s easy to forget to check.

If the home does have AC, you’ll want to give the unit a thorough inspection. Your inspector will likely examine the system to make sure it’s functioning, but it never hurts to run a few tests yourself—or even call an HVAC specialist.

Davitt recommends first checking to see if the AC’s filter has been recently changed. Then try turning down the thermostat and see if the unit runs. Meanwhile, make sure air is blowing through all the vents—it’s better to find blockages now, with time to fix them, than at the beginning of summer when sweat’s starting to pool. Check out the outdoor condenser, listening for any strange sounds, and make sure the condensation line in the evaporator coil—likely found in the furnace—is flowing smoothly. Last, examine the ductwork, looking for any rusting or poor fittings.

2. How’s the drainage?

Gutters are the obvious thing to check, Davitt says. In the interlude between the rainy and snowy seasons, don’t forget to check the drainage. In the yard, look for areas where water is accumulating in small puddles, which could indicate a leak in buried pipes or grading problems that need to be addressed before the rainy season.

If it looks like the sewer might be clogged, bring out a professional sewer inspector to do a camera inspection of the line. That can reveal problems that could cause a backup—as well as a world’s worth of annoyances later. Better to know before you buy.

3. Note the surroundings

What’s nearby? Look across the street, behind you, and next door. Are there bulldozers and cranes? Empty lots awaiting brand spankin’ new homes? Ask your neighbors about seasonal street construction nearby—there’s nothing worse than having a peaceful, quiet home all winter until work begins with a literal bang in the spring.

Double up on the investigative work if you’re near a large intersection, or if your home is directly connected to a major road. Going door to door is not only a good way to meet your future neighbors—it’s also a novel way to find out what seasonal surprises lay ahead.

4. Look for slopes

How steep is your driveway? Sure, it’s easy to navigate now—but will it be when it’s covered in ice?

A less-than-ideal driveway shouldn’t automatically disqualify a home, but it’s better to know in advance if late-winter parking is going to be a challenge.

Similarly, Davitt recommends checking out the landscaping’s pitch around your new home’s exterior. Are there any steep hills that might cause water runoff and flooding? What about the area around your basement? If land slopes toward your basement, it could indicate potential flooding.

5. Check out standing water

At the end of the summer, we’re all just happy that the mosquitoes have died or moved on to bother poor souls elsewhere. But they’ll be back—and you should know in advance where they’ll be hanging out.

“We’ll look for anything that holds standing water,” Davitt says.

Most of these are movable: trash cans, buckets, birdbaths. But if your home is located on a lake or small pond, there’s not a whole lot you can do besides prepare yourself mentally and invest in bug spray and citronella.

If you’re buying in fall or winter, when bugs are hiding, keep in mind the potential ramifications of living on the water.

6. Examine the windows

If the windows in your potential home are older (or don’t even open), you’ll want to replace them immediately—otherwise you risk wasting energy or even breaking them in a freeze.

But if winter is coming quickly, there might not be time. In those cases, Davitt recommends putting plastic over the windows until you’re in a position to replace them.

Will you need storm windows? Find out in advance.

“If you’ve only lived in an apartment, you don’t know you have to change out your screens,” Davitt says.

That can be an added expense and stressor, and one that’s better to know in advance.

Don’t let fall’s peaceful, chilly weather lull you into a false sense of security. When you’re buying a home, examine everything that can go wrong—even if the rainy winter or spring seem far away.

By
Jamie Wiebe Realtor.com

 

11053371_383914575115047_8548886157930102220_nTracy Tkac Evers & Co Real Estate 301-437-8722

 

Moving Apps

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Moving Apps

You’ve found your new home — congrats! But before you dream about settling in and cozying up on your couch for a Netflix binge, you have to actually prep for and execute that big move.

While the process of moving can be exhausting, planning your move doesn’t have to be. Check out these apps to help ease your transition into your new home — and get you closer to that movie night.

Home Inventory Photo Remote

Antsy to start planning your move, but feeling overwhelmed about where to begin? Creating an inventory of the items you intend to take with you is easy with Home Inventory Photo Remote. The app allows you to take photos of your items and then group them by category, collection and even location — keeping you so organized that none of your family members can use the excuse, “I don’t remember where anything goes!”

Once you’re unpacked, the information you’ve gathered in the app will serve as an inventory of your possessions should the unexpected happen and you have to file an insurance claim.

My Move

The My Move app lets you read moving company reviews, complete a moving checklist for every step of the process, calculate the weight of the items you plan to take with you, and more. Perfect for calculating potential costs, My Move helps you plan your move on your own terms — and your budget.

Moving Checklist Pro

If you’re just looking for a thorough moving checklist, Moving Checklist Pro comes with a list of 200+ common household moving items, and you can add your own, too. Creating your own custom lists — such as schools to research, services to cancel or items to return — ensures that you’ll never forget a thing. And if you find that this app doesn’t quite meet your needs, Jimbl Software Labs will even refund your purchase.

Bonus: Gogobot

Once your moving itinerary is planned and you’re on the road, Gogobot is a must to download. Referred to as “a Pandora for travel” by TechCrunch and named “one of the best free apps for travel” by Mom Aboard, Gogobot offers you personalized recommendations on where to eat, play and stay wherever you are on your moving journey.

Moving can be a pain, but these apps can make it a bit less of a headache. No need to wait until you have a moving date to try, though. Download a few of our favorite moving help apps today and see which one best meets your moving need.

 

by SARAH PIKE

Buying Basics

 

Buying Basics

GetMedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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, 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 last step of the home buying process, the closing or the settlement, 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.

The home buying process will go more smoothly when guided by an experienced real estate professional.

 

301-437-8722/ 202-364-1700 Real Estate Professional Licensed in Maryland, Virginia & Washington, DC