Colleen Griffin - RE/MAX Vision



Posted by Colleen Griffin on 4/15/2019

Ready to discover your dream home? With help from your loved ones, you may be able to accelerate your journey from homebuyer to homeowner.

Ultimately, there are many reasons to include family members and friends in your search for the perfect home, including:

1. Loved ones are happy to help you in any way they can.

Loved ones have your best interests in mind and will do whatever they can to assist you. That way, you can get extra help as you embark on the homebuying journey.

Before you begin your home search, it may prove to be helpful to meet with loved ones so that you can explain your homebuying goals to them. This will allow you to describe what you'd like to find in your dream home. Plus, meeting with loved ones gives family members and friends an opportunity to ask you questions about your home search.

If you and your loved ones are all on the same page, you'll be able to get ample support as you prepare to kick off your home search. Then, you and your loved ones can check out a broad array of houses and find one that matches or exceeds your expectations.

2. Loved ones can share their homebuying experiences with you.

For those who are entering the real estate market for the first time or have not purchased a house in several years, it may be beneficial to involve loved ones in the property buying process.

Loved ones who have recently purchased homes can provide real estate insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. They can respond to your homebuying concerns and queries and help you prepare to enter the housing market.

Also, loved ones may be able to help you avoid potential pitfalls as you search for the ideal residence. Although some family members and friends may have made mistakes when they bought homes in the past, your loved ones can help you learn from their errors and ensure you can avoid various homebuying pitfalls.

3. Loved ones can help you make tough homebuying decisions.

Let's face it Ė the decision to buy a home is one of the biggest that an individual may make in his or her lifetime. As such, the decision to purchase a home is not one that should be taken lightly.

Loved ones are happy to listen to your homebuying concerns time and time again. They can offer suggestions and recommendations as you explore homes and help you remain calm, cool and collected at each stage of the homebuying journey.

Of course, if you want additional assistance during the homebuying journey, it never hurts to hire an expert real estate agent. This housing market professional can set up home showings, negotiate with home sellers on your behalf and provide comprehensive homebuying support at any time.

Reach out to loved ones for support as you get ready to search for your dream home. By doing so, you may be able to speed up the homebuying process.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  


Posted by Colleen Griffin on 3/4/2019

Regardless of when or where you search for a house, a home buying checklist is essential. With this checklist in hand, you can quickly and effortlessly discover a residence that suits you perfectly.

Now, let's take a look at three factors to incorporate into your home buying checklist.

1. Your Home Buying Timeline

Account for how much time is available to find and purchase a house. That way, you can boost the likelihood of getting the most out of the time and resources at your disposal.

As you create a home buying checklist, consider how much time you have before you need to relocate from your current address. Then, you can see how much time you have to pursue your dream home and evaluate the steps you will need to take to make that process run smoothly.

2. Your Home Must-Haves and Wants

Consider what you absolutely require from your new home. For instance, if you need a house that is close to your office in the city, you should check out homes in or near the city itself. Or, if you require a home that offers ample space for you and your children, you should hone your search to residences that have two or more bedrooms.

Of course, it helps to create a list of home wants and needs when you develop a house buying checklist. With the ability to evaluate your home needs at any time, you will be better equipped when deciding if a particular house is right for you.

3. Your Home Buying Budget

You know you want to purchase a house, but your current financial situation may be limited. Fortunately, if you prepare a home buying budget, you will know how much you can spend on a residence and map out your search accordingly.

Oftentimes, it helps to meet with credit unions or banks before you begin a home search. Credit unions and banks can teach you about different types of mortgages and how they work. Plus, these financial institutions can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage.

For those who want to streamline the home buying journey, it's a good idea to hire a real estate agent, too. A real estate agent can help you craft a home buying checklist, as well as provide tips and guidance as you search for your ideal house.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to find a terrific house at a budget-friendly price. First, a real estate agent will help a buyer evaluate the local real estate sector and narrow their home search. A real estate agent will also help a buyer discover a home that matches their expectations. Finally, a real estate agent will work with a buyer to put together a competitive offer to purchase this residence.

Craft a home buying checklist today Ė you will be happy you did. Once you have a home buying checklist, you can more seamlessly navigate the house buying journey.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  


Posted by Colleen Griffin on 2/18/2019

If you are thinking of buying a home, you probably have been getting your finances for some time. First-time homebuyers need the right information to avoid making big mistakes when they purchase their homes. The leap into home ownership is a big one, and youíll want as much information with you along for the ride. Below, youíll find a crash course on mortgages for first-time homebuyers. 


Think Ahead


Every homebuyer needs to prepare ahead of time for the process to be smooth. Research different lenders in your area and see what their rates are. If you talk to your lender about your goals and what type of loans youíre looking for, youíll understand all of the costs that youíll face ahead of time. You donít want any surprises when it comes to signing a contract for a home.


Every Mortgage Is Different


Itís easy to think that all home loans are created equal, but they arenít. The diversity in types of home loans is why you need to research and meet with a lender ahead of time. Talk to your real estate agent and see who they suggest. Your agent is a useful resource because they want your entire transaction to go smoothly for everyone involved. There are many different kinds of mortgages, and you need to make sure youíre getting the loan thatís right for you. Be sure you understand the specifics of each loan before you sign on.       


What You Need In Order


Before you even head into the home buying process, there are a few things that youíll need including:


  • Cash for a downpayment
  • A budget
  • Knowledge of all of your finances
  • Where youíd like to look for a home
  • An idea of how much you can spend on a home
  • Information to get pre-approved including tax returns, proof of income, and bank statements


Once you have saved up cash for a downpayment, itís time to take a look at your budget. Can you afford a monthly mortgage payment in the price range that you hope to buy? How much money will you have left over each month? Should you adjust your expectations? 



Youíll need to save up a bit of cash before you know that youíre ready to buy a home. Itís recommended that you have at least 20 percent of the purchase price of a home to put down towards your loan. The more you put down, the lower your monthly payments will be on the mortgage. So saving is the next big step in securing a mortgage in the smoothest possible way.     





Posted by Colleen Griffin on 2/11/2019

You may know that when you buy a home, you should purchase homeownerís insurance. You may have never wondered if the coverage is required. Usually, insurance will be taken out of escrow and a part of our monthly mortgage payment. You may pay a yearly premium separate from your mortgage payment. Home insurance is a nuisance so if you could find a way around it should you forego it?   


You can legally buy a home without a home insurance policy, but if the house is financed with a lender, the mortgage company usually requires that you have insurance on the property. A lender can also request that your home carry additional policies such as earthquake or flood insurance. There are minimums you must meet based on the value of your home and the lender you do business with. These standards exist so that you as the homeowner will have enough coverage to replace the property should it be a total loss in some type of natural disaster or fire.  


The amount of coverage you need depends on how big the mortgage is that you have taken out. There are certain supplemental coverages that may not be required yet are sensible to carry. These extra coverages include:


Personal liability coverage

Personal property coverage


The good news is that as a homeowner you have a choice. You can shop around and see which insurance companies will give you the best coverage for the lowest price. 


The bottom line is that you shouldnít risk going without home insurance. Even if your loan company allows you to cancel your home insurance after a certain point, the risk is really not worth saving money. Without coverage or permission to cancel coverage, there is a chance your mortgage company could put your loan into default. 


High deductible, basic insurance policies are better than nothing. If youíre going to pay a premium for home insurance, you should look into getting the coverage that makes the most sense for you and your family. You donít need over the top coverage amounts, but you should aim for comprehensive protection for your property. The key is to balance the cost of your insurance with the value of the property. If your house burned down, youíd want to know that you could replace your property without worry. If you didnít have insurance, you could really face some issues. You may not want to pay for home insurance, but you genuinely need it. Make sure you understand your coverages.                





Posted by Colleen Griffin on 2/4/2019

Your credit score is a fundamental component of a mortgage lenderís decision to approve you for a loan. It can also affect the interest rate and loan amount you can secure.

Along with your income history and down payment, a solid credit score is one of the three most important things youíll need when it comes to buying a home.

Credit scores themselves, however, can be a complicated business. And finding out what score you need to buy a home and how to achieve that score can also be a complex topic.

So, in this post weíre going to break down some credit score basics as they relate to buying a home.

Types of credit scores

You may have heard of the three main credit bureaus, TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Each of these bureaus keeps a detailed credit history for everyone in America (except for those who have yet to open a line of credit or take out a loan).

Since each credit bureau may have slightly different information available data to draw from, your credit scores from each company may vary.

However, when it comes to buying a home, most lenders use a standard scoring model called a FICO score to ensure that all mortgage applicants are treated fairly when they seek a loan.

Things are further complicated by the fact that there are several different FICO scoring models designed for different types of credit. So, if youíve seen your FICO score when applying for an auto loan, it may be a different score than you will see when applying for a mortgage.

Build credit; raise your credit score

All of the types of credit scores and scoring models can be confusing. But what you mostly need to worry about is how to boost your score.

Your credit score will be based on five main factors:

  1. Making on-time payments

  2. The percentage of available credit (not maxing out your cards)

  3. Having diverse types of credit (auto loans, student loans, credit cards, etc.)

  4. Not opening new lines of credit frequently (a red flag that youíre struggling financially)

  5. The length of your credit history, or how long youíve been consistently paying your bills

What score do you need to buy a home?

There are several different mortgage types available for buyers. First-time homeowners, veterans, people seeking to buy a home in a rural area, and any other number of circumstances can help you qualify for mortgages even if you have a low credit score.

A general rule, however, is that itís always better to apply for a mortgage with a high credit score to help you secure the best possible interest rate. 

Some programs do have minimum credit scores that they will accept for a mortgage. FHA loans are one common example. The Federal Housing Authority guarantees loans for people across the country who are hoping to buy their first home (or who havenít owned a home in the last three years). Their guarantee is what enables lenders to safely approve mortgages for borrowers with low credit scores. The current requirement for an FHA loan is a credit score of 580 or higher for a mortgage with a 3.5% down payment. You can secure an FHA loan with a lower credit score, but youíll have to make a larger down payment.


There are several other options available for hopeful homeowners when it comes to mortgages. But, if you arenít planning on moving in the next few months and your credit score could use some work, now is the time to start focusing on building credit.







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