Colleen Griffin - RE/MAX Vision



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.





Posted by Colleen Griffin on 1/21/2019

Putting an offer on a home is an exciting event. You donít want to get so excited that you overlook the important factors that go into buying a home. Follow the tips below before you put an offer on a property.  


Research


In order to come up with a price to offer on a home, you need to do some research. You should have a general understanding of the local market. Although your realtor will have a good grasp on this, itís always a good idea to be an informed buyer. You can work with your realtor to find the right price. You donít want to blurt out a number that is completely out of line for the neighborhood or market conditions. 


A good place to start is by taking a look at what the homes in the the neighborhood are selling for. You can also look at what homes in the area have recently sold for. The advantage to hiring a realtor is that they have easy access to all of this research and information. Be sure that the properties that you look at are comparable to the one that you hope to put an offer on. You can even do this ahead of time if you have an idea of what kind of property youíre looking to buy. 


Another useful tool in the research part of making a offer is the history of the property. When did the seller purchase the property? At what price? If the seller has moved in more recently, you may have some wiggle room for negotiations.


Get Pre-approved


Getting pre-approved gives you some buying power. First, youíll know how much house you can afford. Next, youíll know that a lender is dedicated to lending you that amount to buy a home. Your offer will be taken more seriously if you have been pre-approved because the seller will know that you can get the funds to purchase the home. 


Get The Help Of A Realtor


When you hire a realtor, youíre getting the agent along with the team of people that they work with. Realtors can recommend you to everyone from home inspectors real estate attorneys. An attorney is an especially helpful advocate in the process of buying a home because they can check to be sure that your offer meets the legal requirements within your state and protect your interests as a buyer. 


The attorney will also look at the purchase agreement for the home. This will include all of the details of the property transaction:


  • The date of the offer
  • The address and property description
  • Amount offered for the home
  • Loan details including the down payment amount
  • The closing date
  • Any contingencies

These will all be very important to you as a buyer and a lawyer make sure that everything is legally sound will be a great protection for you.


Now, youíll be ready to seal the deal!       


 





Posted by Colleen Griffin on 12/24/2018

Ready to enter the real estate market for the first time? As a first-time homebuyer, you may encounter many challenges as you kick off your search for the perfect house. However, property buyers who understand these challenges will be better equipped than others to overcome such difficulties quickly and effortlessly.

Now, let's take a look at three common challenges that first-time homebuyers may face:

1. You don't know what to look for in a house.

You know you want to own a house, but how do you define your "dream" residence? Ultimately, you'll want to consider what you'd like to find in your perfect house so you can map out your real estate search accordingly.

Creating a checklist of things you'd like to have in your dream home usually represents a great starting point for first-time homebuyers. This checklist should include both "must-haves" and "wants" and can help you narrow your search for the ideal residence.

2. You aren't sure how much money you have available to purchase a home.

How much can you spend to acquire a residence? Without a budget, you may struggle to begin your real estate search.

Lucky for you, many banks and credit unions make it simple to get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Set up meetings with a few lenders in your city or town Ė you'll be glad you did. These lenders can help you assess your current financial situation, outline all of your mortgage options and ensure you can gain pre-approval for a mortgage.

With a mortgage in hand, you may be better equipped than other homebuyers to secure your ideal residence. This mortgage will help you determine exactly how much you can spend on a home. Plus, getting pre-approved for a mortgage can help you avoid the temptation to spend beyond your financial means to acquire your dream house.

3. You don't know what it takes to go from homebuyer to homeowner.

The homebuying process can be long and complicated, especially if you have no idea about what to expect from it. Fortunately, real estate agents are available to help you take the guesswork out of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

A real estate agent is a housing market professional who is happy to share his or her insights with you. He or she will respond to your homebuying concerns and queries and teach you about all stages of the homebuying cycle.

Furthermore, a real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new houses as they become available and negotiate with property sellers on your behalf. This housing market professional will even go above and beyond the call of duty to guarantee you can purchase a home that you'll be able to enjoy for years to come.

When it comes to buying a home for the first time, there is no need to navigate the homebuying journey alone. Instead, collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can accelerate the process of acquiring a top-notch house at a budget-friendly price.







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