First Time Home Buyers

5 Signs You’re Ready to Buy a Home

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    Are you ready to buy a house?

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For some, home ownership seems to be a natural part of life. After all, many individuals don’t want to rent forever and when the market is right, there are a lot of individuals that jump at the opportunity to make a purchase.

But, how are you supposed to know when it’s the right time to make a purchase versus when it feels right to make a purchase?

Luckily, there are 5 questions you can consider and, depending on the answers, use to guide your decision as to whether home ownership is the right decision for you.

  1. Do my finances support my decision to purchase a home?

No matter how badly you want to be a homeowner, you simply can’t decide to make such a significant purchase if your finances aren’t in order. Of course, feeling financially secure will be different for different people, but you should have enough money for a 10% down payment as well as for mortgage insurance depending upon the amount of your down payment.

If you haven’t saved for a down payment, it’s unlikely that you’re ready to purchase a home. But if you have, you can answer “yes” to this question and continue considering the following questions.

  1. Will I be in this area for awhile?

In the past, staying put for just three to five years was enough to purchase a home. But nowadays, you should want to stay put for at least seven years to consider home ownership.

Primarily, this is because there are a lot of associated costs with purchasing a home including closing on the sale and moving, among others. And, when it comes time to sell your home, you’ll lose even more money.

So, if you aren’t willing to settle down or can’t count on settling down depending on your job and unique situation, it’s probably best not to buy.

  1. What are the standard costs of ownership?

What will you be spending, and how does this break down on a month-by-month basis? The simplest way to determine the standard costs is to calculate your home price minus your down payment into a mortgage calculator.

You can even plug in costs like property taxes and homeowners insurance to get a more accurate picture.

  1. What hidden expenses are there in homeownership?

While most homeowners understand the standard costs they can expect, few understand that there are many hidden expenses as well.

Hidden expenses include everything from homeowner association fees, routine maintenance costs, and significant expenses like a new roof or a new paint job. You can’t plan for all of these costs, so having a comfortable savings account is necessary to ensure that should something arise, you can handle it.

  1. What’s going on in the market in my area?

Even if you’ve answered “yes” or “I’m prepared” to all of the questions above, there’s one more you have to consider: what’s actually happening in the market where you live?

Home prices in some cities are skyrocketing at the moment whereas others are remaining more stable. Meanwhile, those who are renting may experience an increase in their income but in all likelihood, their rent is increasing as well.

Consider the market in your area and by doing so, you can better determine whether or not a home is the right investment at this time.

If You’re Ready to Purchase a Home, United Real Estate Can Help

If you’ve read through this article and are convinced that now is the right time for you to buy a home, the team at United Real Estate can help.

As a national leader in the real estate industry, we have the experience and expertise to assist with all of your needs. Contact us to purchase your dream home, today!

10 Real Estate Terms You Need to Know

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When it comes to buying and selling homes, part of walking the walk is talking the talk. After all, it will be difficult to search for and land your dream home or sell your current home if you aren’t quite sure what all the terms mean.

Below, we’re going to detail 10 of the most important real estate terms you’ll encounter as you look to buy or sell your home. And by learning them all, you’ll have the tools you’ll need to go through either process with confidence.

  1. Buyer’s Agent vs. Listing Agent

In any home-related deal, there are two agents: the buyer’s agent, who represents the buyer, and the listing agent, who represents the seller. Both will get a percentage of the final sale price of the home as their commission, meaning that you don’t pay your realtor regardless of whether you’re buying or selling.

  1. Fixed Rate vs. Adjustable Rate Mortgages

Many individuals, including you, might need a mortgage to purchase a home. Fixed rate mortgages have a fixed interest rate for the entire loan (which is generally about 30 years) whereas adjustable rate mortgages have variable rates (which are generally 5, 7, or 10 years).

  1. Pre-Approval Letter

If a buyer needs a mortgage, it’s important to seek pre-approval from the bank to determine how much they’ll lend. This will determine which properties buyers can consider and show sellers whether or not a buyer is qualified.

  1. Listings

Homes that are on the market are commonly known as “listings.” Listings will provide vital information about a property such as the price, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, and other details.

  1. Inspections

After making an offer, it’s essential that a buyer gets an inspection on the home they’re interested in. An inspector will evaluate potential issues like plumbing, electric, heating, appliances, the foundation, and more.

  1. Appraisal

Lenders require property appraisals to determine the home’s value. Typically, appraisals are based on the sale prices of homes that have sold in the area as well as the current condition of the property.

  1. Contingencies

Contingencies are included in offers on a home and specify conditions that must be met in order for the deal to get through. Of course, there are other contingencies as well, including:

  • Financing Contingency – Demonstrates a buyer’s loan approval.
  • Inspection Contingency – Demonstrates inspection results.
  • Appraisal Contingency – Demonstrates the appraised value in comparison to what you’re willing to pay.
  1. Offers

Offers are often made by agents or attorneys to show sellers the potential offers being made by buyers on a property. It’s common for sellers to counter an offer as well.

  1. Closing Costs

There are several fees that come with purchasing a home, commonly known as closing costs. Often, closing costs total 2 to 5% of the purchase price of the home (not including a down payment).

  1. Title Insurance

Once a seller has accepted an offer, buyers should receive a home title report that shows whether or not the seller has rights to the title and there are no liens on a home.

Looking for Assistance in Buying or Selling Your Home?

An agent is an indispensable resource when it comes to buying and selling homes.

And, when you’re looking for more than just terms to negotiate on your dream home or obtain an offer on your current home, United Real Estate can help. Contact us today to get started!

First Time Home Buyer FAQs

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Buying a home is one of the largest financial decisions most people will make in their lifetime.  Naturally, this means that potential homebuyers are going to have a lot of questions.

This list of FAQs will help prepare you for answering your customers’ most important queries.

Q: What are the most important things to consider when looking at the condition of a home?
A: There are several things to look at when determining whether or not to purchase a home. One is the age of the roof. A roof usually lasts between 15-50 years depending on its materials. Another area to look at is whether the foundation is raised or slab. Newer homes tend to have slab foundations, but a raised foundation makes it easier, and usually cheaper, to access underneath the home to address electrical and plumbing issues.

Q: Do I need an attorney to be involved?
A: It depends on the state. Some states require attorneys to draft a real estate transaction contract or purchase agreement, while others use an escrow company instead. Check with a real estate agent to find out the laws in a specific state.

Q: How do I decide what to offer the seller?
A: How much the seller paid for the home, how much the seller still owes on the home, and how long the home has been on the market are all things to consider when coming up with an offer. In addition to questions about the house, it is important that the buyer asks themselves how much they can feasibly afford and how valuable the house is to them when considering an amount to offer.

Q: Do I need to get a home inspection?
A: While it is typically an additional expense for the buyer, a home inspection will cover the entire house- inside and out- and can prevent costly surprises down the road. At the end of the inspection, a signed report of the findings will be given to the buyer. No other party is entitled to see the report unless the buyer allows them to.

Q: What is a house closing?
A: This refers to the final transfer of ownership from the seller to the buyer. This transaction usually takes place in the office of someone who is licensed in initiating the transaction and purchase agreement such as a real estate lawyer or title officer. The date for closing is set during the negotiation phase and usually takes places several weeks after the buyer’s offer is officially accepted by the seller. There are several fees involved in closing, which can be paid either by the buyer or the seller- depending what they established during negotiation.

Q: Do I need title insurance?
A: Title insurance covers you in case the title search missed something that would make the purchase of the home invalid. While a title search is conducted during the home buying process, there can be things that aren’t caught until after the buyer has moved in, meaning they could potentially lose their house. If this were to happen, the buyer is likely to receive damages if they purchased title insurance at closing. Two title insurance policies are needed- one for the buyer and one for the lender.

This post is provided by our mortgage partner, Supreme Lending, using the following sources: 

http://realestate.findlaw.com/buying-a-home/questions-to-ask-when-buying-a-home.html
http://www.homeclosing101.org/costs.cfm
http://www.zillow.com/home-buying-guide/what-is-title-insurance/

The Challenges Facing First Time Home Buyers

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In 2013, 38 percent of home buyers were first-time buyers. Because first-time buyers can face unique challenges that other buyers may not, Supreme Lending and United Real Estate have partnered together to assist more people in achieving the dream of home ownership.

The statistics on first-time home buyers.

First-time home buyers tend to be young adults with an average age of 31. Around 56 percent of first-time buyers are married and 30 percent are single. The majority of first-time buyers, 59 percent, don’t have children. They tend to purchase homes around 1,570 square feet, and they have an average income of $64,400.

Specific challenges first-time home buyers face.

Did you know:

  • The average age range for first time home buyers is 25-35, which also happens to be the age group hardest hit by the recession. This means that they may still be building their careers or do not have the employment history that older buyers do.
  • Credit scores can also be a challenge for first-time home buyers because they may not have the long, established credit histories lender look for.
  • Down payments can be a problem for first-time home buyers. Some lenders require first-time buyers to put down 10 to 20 percent of the purchase price of the home, which can be difficult to come up with when the buyer might be just starting in their career.
  • Many buyers in this age group are also dealing with paying back substantial student loans. Having student loans can significantly impact the approval and even size of a home loan.
  • It’s their first time. Many first-time buyers are simply overwhelmed by the home buying process. This can result in them agreeing to a term or percentage without really knowing what it means for them or giving up the process entirely.

What you can do:

  • Make a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves. Buying a home can be an emotional experience, but it is important to try to put emotions aside and focus on finding a house that has what you’re looking for AND you can afford.
  • Take ALL of the expenses into consideration when deciding on your budget. Don’t forget to add in utilities, cost of commuting, insurance and other fees.
  • Read the homeowners association contract before you put in an offer. It could have conditions that make or break your decision.
  • Ask for help! You don’t have to go through the process alone. Make sure that you choose loan officers and real estate agents who are dedicated to making the process as simple as possible.

Sources: https://www.discover.com/home-loans, http://www.realtor.org, http://blakesloanradio.com

 Questions for us?  Email info@supremelending.com or call (877)316-0296

Supreme Lending
NMLS ID #2129
14801 Quorum Drive, Ste 300
Dallas, Texas 75254
www.gregorylaywell.supremelending.com

Disclaimer

Can People Still Buy a Home with No Money Down?

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Although it’s highly unlikely, yes – it is still possible to get a home without a down payment.  Prior to the mortgage crisis and recession, many lenders offered mortgages without any down payment. Some lenders even allowed consumers to borrow up to 105 percent of the home’s purchase price so they could finance their closing costs.  While we all know that mortgage requirements are much stricter, there are still loan options that can make homeownership a reality.

Today, a handful of government sponsored programs allow consumers with good credit and a steady income to buy a home. Here’s the low-down on loans with low/no down payment requirements.

VA Loans

These loans are only available to veterans, current members of the military and their spouses. While these loans don’t require a down payment or mortgage insurance, there is a funding fee that can be wrapped into the loan.

USDA Rural Development Loans

The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers loans to those with qualifying credit scores and income levels. Candidates for these loans must be able to afford payments but have a low or moderate income. Additionally, you must purchase a property in a designated area. These loans are primarily designed to help low-income families in rural areas purchase homes.

FHA Loans

Insured by the Federal Housing Authority, FHA loans come with a minimum down payment of 3.5 percent. FHA charges an upfront premium and additional premiums each month. The standards are usually pretty lenient but a series of guidelines are published and will give you exact eligibility requirements.

If you are interested in getting approved for a loan or learning about types of loans available,
contact our preferred mortgage partner – Supreme Lending. Their team is passionate about helping consumers make homeownership a reality.

Pre-Qualified vs. Pre-Approved: What’s Really the Difference?

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As a first time homebuyer, getting a mortgage might seem a bit daunting. As you navigate the approval process, don’t be confused, a pre-approval is much different than being pre-qualified.

Here’s the skinny:

Pre-Qualified

This term refers to a general review of your finances and a recommendation of what you can afford. In a conversation with a banker, you would review your income, debts, desires etc. and s/he would be able to identify an approximate mortgage amount. Pre-qualification can be done quickly over the phone or internet and does NOT include a review of your credit report. Just because you are pre-qualified for a mortgage does not mean you’ll actually be granted a mortgage.

Pre-Approved

Getting pre-approved is a more in-depth process, requiring a review of your credit history and a verification of your income and debts. After reviewing you finances your loan would be submitted to underwriting – and ultimately you’d be provided with a pre-approval letter that you can use when making an offer on a home. Pre-approvals are normally good for 120 days so it is important to make sure you have this documentation when presenting offers to home sellers.

Ultimately, there is no harm in getting pre-qualified but to have a good chance at getting a home and a mortgage, you need to be pre-approved.

Interested in more in-depth information about getting approved for a mortgage? Contact our lending partner, Supreme at (877) 316-0296 or visit www.UnitedHomeMortgages.com.

First-Time Homebuyer? Take Advantage of Our Resources

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Nervous about buying a home for the first time? The best way to ease the anxiety is to know what to expect and have a reliable agent guide you through the process from start to finish.

United Real Estate provides valuable resources for first-time homebuyers. With these resources, you’ll have a better understanding of how the buying process works and what you’ll need in order to help things run smoothly. All you have to do is register for free on our website to gain VIP access to our online tools and information for home buyers. With VIP access, you’ll learn how to get your credit report and how to get a pre-approval for a home loan.

 

You can also view a home buying roadmap, receive new listings daily, read about mortgage requirements and determine whether you should get a 15-year or 30-year loan. Our resources also help you budget for a new home, learn more about buying a condo, decide whether to buy now or wait and find out how to improve your chances of getting a mortgage.

 

Ready to access our homebuyer resources? Visit United Real Estate, and follow our Facebook page.

New to Buying a Home? What Home Buyers Need to Know

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Thinking about buying a home for the first time? There are several benefits to becoming a homeowner, but you shouldn’t make this decision lightly.

Keep these home buying tips in mind if you’re considering taking the plunge into homeownership:

  • Talk to a real estate agent. Friends and family members mean well, but they might not offer you the most realistic advice about purchasing your first home. An agent can help determine how much you can afford to spend and whether or not you’re financially ready to buy a home.
  • Think long-term. Since you’ll most likely be in your home for several years, think ahead when choosing a home. Look for one that’s near good schools, even if you doubt you’ll have kids, since this boosts your home’s value. You should also look for a home that doesn’t stand out too much from the rest, such as one that’s much bigger than other homes near it.
  • Take your time. You don’t have to rush into purchasing a home for fear that you’ll miss out on a good deal. Take your time, and make a wise decision instead.

Need more home buying tipsContact United Real Estate, and follow our Facebook page.

Boost Your Credit Score Prior to Home Buying

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Your credit score has a major impact on your ability to get a home loan with a low interest rate. That’s why it’s so crucial to make sure your score is as high as possible before applying for a mortgage.

If your credit isn’t in great shape, you can work toward improving it. Use these tips to boost yourpersonal credit score:

  • Order your credit report. Before doing anything else, request a copy of your credit report. You’re entitled to receive a free one each year. When you get it, look it over carefully for errors and have them corrected right away. You’ll also find out how much you owe and which creditors you owe.
  • Pay your bills on time. Late payments bring down your credit score, and it can take time to raise it again. Make sure you pay all of your bills on time, and don’t miss any payments.
  • Carry low balances. Keep your balances low if you can’t afford to pay them off completely. Higher balances will lower your credit score significantly. Keep balances below 50 percent of your limit.

Want more advice on mortgages? Call United Real Estate, and follow our Facebook page.

Three Common Myths About Home Buying

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During your search for a new home, you’re bound to run into a few common misconceptions about the process. Some of these involve the way credit works when you apply for a loan.

These are a few of the most common home buying myths about credit:

  • Your credit has to be in perfect shape. Lenders do use credit to make approval decisions and decisions on interest rates, but you don’t need the best score possible. You can still get a mortgage with less than stellar scores, although your interest rate will most likely be higher.
  • Lenders can share your credit information. Lenders can share this information with affiliates, but only if you’ve given them permission to do so. There are several laws that safeguard your personal credit information and prevent lenders from sharing it without your permission.
  • While there are hundreds of credit bureaus, lenders have base their decisions on the FICO scoring model. Other models such as Score X, Score + or Vantage are consumer based models that give people an idea of what their FICO score might be.

Need help shopping around for a good mortgage? Contact United Real Estate, and visit us on Facebook.