5 Tips for Buying a Home

Are you thinking about purchasing a home? That’s great! Here are some tips to help you make one of the most significant financial decisions of your life.
1. Ensure your finances are in order
Many homeowners finance their home purchases through lenders including banks, credit unions and mortgage lenders. When financing your mortgage, all of these lenders will pull your credit report. It is your job to ensure your report is free and clear of any negative items before starting the buying process. You also will want to home-2406416_640consider the different loan options and the associated down payment costs.

2. Obtain prequalification from lender
Once your finances are in order, you can schedule a meeting with your lender or lenders when choosing the best option for your needs. You can prepare a file of the following documents to aid in the pre-qualifying process.

• Financial statements
• Bank account information
• Investment information
• Credit card information
• Auto loan information
• Recent pay stubs
• Tax returns for the last two years
• 401K statements, stocks, bonds, life insurance and mutual account information

3. Choose an agent
Not just any real estate agent will work. You need an advocate or expert in your corner ready to help you make one of the most important financial decisions of your life. The right agent can navigate the complex process of purchasing a property and complete all necessary paperwork. Look for these qualities when selecting an agent.

• Experience – A full-time agent has the experience in completing similar transactions to the one you are wishing to make.
• Credentials – Interview a few agents and ask them about their credentials. An excellent agent constantly strives to improve their knowledge of the latest real estate trends and should hold the highest designations in their respective fields.
• Timeliness – You want an agent who returns your emails and calls promptly. Someone who is always ready and willing to answer your every question.
• Attentive – This goes hand-in-hand with timeliness. You want an agent who listens to your needs, interests and concerns. One whom you are comfortable working with through the entire process.
• Excellent references – A list of recent properties sold by the agent can be very helpful. You can also ask for a list of references and see what others experiences have been like with a particular agent.

4. Shop around
After you have completed the preparations and gotten your ducks in a row, it’s time to start looking for your dream home. Go for a drive and explore which neighborhoods, complexes and/or subdivisions attract your attention. This also provides a great opportunity to get a feel for the properties available in your preferred areas which helps you to narrow your search. Once you have a list of properties that interest you can have your agent set up the appointments to visit them. Providing a list to your agent also helps them research the current and long term value of the properties. Also, the agent will help you craft an offer that sellers will accept giving you an advantage over other offers.
5. Understand the purchase agreement
The purchase agreement is a legal arrangement between a potential buyer and the property’s owner or seller. To streamline the process, it is best to keep records of everything and to stick to a pre-determined schedule. The agreement also contains information regarding inspections and appraisals.

Buying A New Home vs An Old Home

Driving around Utah, there is a lot of building go on. Everywhere you turn it seems everyone is building a home, but is worth the cost? As you determine which is the best option for you, here are some of the pros and cons for buying an older home:new vs old

Benefits of Buying an Older Home Cons of Buying an Older Home
Larger yards, more room for kids to run around. More expensive, things get old and all apart, and there is always things to fix or upgrade.
More character, interesting architectural features. Smaller closets, storage space, and garages.
Established neighborhood, more people know each other. Required updates and remodels.

However, for some, owning a home with a larger yard and established neighborhood is not what they want. If you’re considering buying a newer home, here are some important factors to consider:

Benefits of Buying a Newer Home Cons of Buying a Newer Home
Modern conveniences, everything is newer. No uniqueness, tract homes tend to have identical floor plans which can pretty boring.
New construction, your items will last a longer. Immature vegetation, new homes aren’t established like an older homes.
Energy efficient, new appliances use less energy and makes your home more green. House settling, new homes haven’t had a chance to settle so you can expect cracks in the foundation, walls, and door frames.

In the end there is no wrong choice. The important thing is buy a home that fits your lifestyle, needs, and budget. Write down everything you want in your home, what you have to have, and what you can live without. The more you know about what you want going in, the better you’ll be able to decide if a older or newer home is the best option for you.

Have you bought an older or newer home? Would you do it again? What do you wish you’d known going in? Tell us about your experience below in the comments.

Avoid These 3 Mistakes When Buying A Home

Home buying can be a stressful experience, but it can also be an exciting time. While you search for your dream home, explore various neighborhoods, and find the best place to raise your family, here are 3 rookie mistakes to avoid which can cost you more money.potted-731201_640

  1. Keep emotions out of it. Remember, as you search for your dream home, this is a huge investment, but there are a lot of great homes out there. As you look at homes, find a few that you’re interested in so if one falls through you have other options that you love as well.
  1. Save your money. Take some time to save up enough money for a down payment (at least 20%) and also save up an emergency fund. General rule of thumb, save up at least a thousand dollars, but better yet, save up enough to cover you for a few months in case you lose your job or have another financial problem.
  1. Get Pre-approved. Many people mistake going into this without getting pre-approved first. Before you begin your search or hire a real estate agent, speak with a loan officer to find out how much you qualify for and what you can afford. This way you don’t get discouraged with falling in love with a home way out of your price range.

Learn more about what rookie mistakes to avoid by checking out  this article by Home Value Plus.

3 Things to Consider When Buying Your First Home

There can be a lot of stress when it comes to buying your first home. How do you choose? Are you making the right decision? Do you want to be tied down in one location for a while? What if you lose your job? The questions are endless and terms you need to know. As you move forward with buying your first home, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Keep in mind the costs associated with owning a home. Many first time homebuyers enter in to buying a home without being prepared for the unknown expenses that come up after the contract is signed. Some of the expenses include: taxes, insurance. association fees, home maintenance, utilities, and minor or major repairs. When preparing to buy your first home, talk with your real estate agent about the costs and have them ask the seller’s agent to provide you with the monthly utility costs or you can call the utility companies for an estimate.
  1. dollar-837378_640Save for your down payment. In most situations. it is recommended you have 20% of your target purchase available for a down payment. If you don’t have the 20% for a down payment, it won’t (usually) be a problem. There are loans available that offer various credit levels and interest levels. Talk with your loan officer or mortgage lender to see which option works best for you.
  1. Hire a local agent. When searching for your dream home, you’ll want to hire a local agent to help you. Before hiring someone to assist you in your search, take some time to find an agent who really knows the area. Also, ask them how many homes they’ve helped buyers purchase, their experience, and for references. Listing agents should also have a good understanding of the fair market value for the homes around the area you’re interested in.

Buying a home is a big decision so take some time to do your due diligence. The more you know when going into the home buying process, the more confident you’ll be. We’re here to help  you find your dream home. Give us a call today and find out what we can do for you.

How to Choose the Best Neighborhood

city-houses-village-2846A lot goes into buying a home and one of those things is choosing the right neighborhood. Before you start scrutinizing the neighborhood(s), you need to look at yourself first. Some things to ask yourself: do you have children or are you planning on having children? Do you want a historic area or a new development? Do you want a single-family home, townhouse, apartment or a co-op?

While you begin to profile your perfect neighborhood, make a list of “must-haves” and “would-like-to-haves.” Remember you are going to have to make compromises, but as you realize what is important to you, what your lifestyle needs are, you can move forward with your decision.

Narrow in on the area and choose the neighborhoods that best meet your needs and wants. If you are moving to a new city, you will want to do more research into which area is best. One way to start narrowing down your list, look at where your job is located. What kind of commute do you want to have?

As you tour the area’s you are interested pay attention to your senses. What do you hear, smell, see, taste? Do you like the sounds of the neighborhood? Can you see yourself living in the neighborhood? Is there any vandalism or abandoned buildings? What are the neighbor’s homes like?

Once you get clear on what you want, you will have a better chance on making the right choice that fits your needs and lifestyle.

Ask These Questions Before Buying a Home

FDeathtoStock_Wired5inding the right home can take some time. There are so many factors that go into home buying process. Before you make an offer on your dream home, take some time to see what your neighbors are like, is the home near the right schools, and is it in your price range? Check out this great calculator tool to get a better idea and then go talk to a mortgage lender to get pre-approved for your home loan.

Narrow down your search by asking these questions:

  • Why is the owner selling?
  • Talk with the neighbors. What do they like about the neighborhood? What are the cons?
  • How long has the home been vacant? Why?
  • Check the water pressure and make sure they are draining correctly.

Owning a home is an investment. Take time to make sure you are making the right choice and ask your questions. What is most important to you? Let us help you find the home of your dreams.

Understanding Homeowners Insurance

Regardless if your home is paid off or not, having homeowners insurance is a worth having. Not only does homeowners insurance protect the house, but all the belongings inside. In addition, a homeowners policy covers personal liability due to negligence, which includes damage to another person or their property and legal defense.

Your insurance agent can help you decide which insurance policy and any additional insurance you need to protect your assets.

There are 6 types of homeowners insurance options, the top 3 being HO-3. HO-4 and HO-6.

Special Form Homeowner Insurance (HO-3) is probably the most popular and protects against damage to the home, including personal belongings.

Renters Insurance (HO-4) protects people who are renting their home or apartment. This policy protects your belongings among other things.

Condominium Insurance (HO-6) is the another popular policy and protects those who own a condo or co-op. For more information about this and all the other homeowner insurance policies, here is a great website.

Owning vs. Renting

Here are just some of the advantages of Home ownership:

  • Equity: You can’t build equity in an apartment or rental property. ~In your own home you CAN.
  • Tax Deduction: Your rent payment is not tax deductible. ~The interest portion of your mortgage payment could be tax deductible.*
  • Privacy: Your apartment, shares the walls, ceiling and/or floor. ~In a single family home, you have privacy.
  • Fixed Payment: Your rent almost always increases when your lease is renewed. ~With a fixed-rate mortgage, the principal & interest payments never go up.
  • Pride: An apartment can feel only like a place to stay. ~Owning your own home give you pride of ownership.

*Consult your tax adviser

 

These advantages shared by:

 

Hiring an Agent

Selling your house can be a daunting task and choosing the right agent to help you through the process is key to making the experience a good one. However, with so many real estate agents out there, how do you know you are hiring the best one who will navigate you through the twists and turns?

Here are some questions to ask the next time you are looking to hire an agent:

Hiring an agent

1. Do you hold a real estate sales or broker’s license? Are you a licensed realtor? Yes, agents are required by law to have a license so if your agent doesn’t…move on.

2. Are you a member of the National Association of Realtors? Agents are required to take continuing education classes to keep up with the latest market trends and procedures.

3. What is your marketing plan for my home? How many websites will include information about my home? Where will you look for buyers?

4. How many sales did you complete last year?

5. Will you provide me with regular feedback and updates about potential buyers?

Also, ask for references. Can the agent give you a list of previous clients that you can follow up with. For a full list of questions to ask, check out the REALTOR website

What are some questions you would add to the list? What are some things you wish you had asked?

 

The Perks of Owning Your Home Compared to Renting

Home worthBuying a home is a big decision, but with the housing market on the rise it is more cost effective for you to buy now. If you are on the fence about renting vs. owning, here are some things to consider. First of all, when you own your own home, you have the freedom to decorate, remodel or alter the landscaping however you choose. You gain a sense of belonging in the community and gain more self confidence in reaching your goals. Then there is of course the financial benefits of owning your own home.

When it comes to the financial benefits of buying a home, here is one way to see why now is the best time to buy. Let’s say your dream costs $250,000 today, at 4.41% interest, your monthly principle and interest mortgage payment would be $1,253.38. Then let’s say you decide to wait to own for another year, with the rates and prices increasing, the same home costs $270,000, at a 5.7% monthly interest. That makes your monthly payment at   $1,567.08; a $313.70 difference in monthly payments. Now looking at it over the long term (30 years) you would have saved $112,932 over that time by buying now.

Still on the fence about buying? For many, the idea of taking on a mortgage can be intimidating. However, unless you are living with your parents, you are paying a mortgage ~ either yours or your landlords. When you look at it that way, doesn’t it make more sense to invest in your own property (where there is an actually return on your investment) than on someone else’s?

Some other benefits to owning your home are:

  • You can build equity in your home
  • Your mortgage payment could be tax deductible
  • More privacy with a home
  • Fixed payment, your rent could always go up
  • Pride of ownership

What is holding you back from moving forward to buying your own home? Give us a call today at 801-774-1615 to find out what we can do for you.