First Time Home Buyers

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.

Condo Buying: Investing in a Condo Over a House

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When you’re determined to purchase your own home, it doesn’t have to be a single-family house. Condos make great investments and offer several advantages over other types of residences.

These are just some of the benefits you’ll enjoy when buying a condo:

  • Access to amenities. You don’t have to pay for separate memberships to a local pool or golf course. Living in a condo means that you’ll be able to use the amenities your condo community offers, such as clubhouses, pools and fitness center.
  • Low maintenance. When you live in a condo, you only have to maintain your living space. You’re not responsible for maintaining the building, grounds or common areas.
  • Financial incentives. Owning a condo gives you a chance to build equity, and you’ll also be able to use tax deductions on property taxes and mortgage interest payments.
  • A sense of community. Living in a building that has a lot of other units occupied by owners, rather than renters, means that you’ll have a good sense of community. Some of these also offer planned community events.

Need additional information on buying a condoContact United Real Estate, and follow our Facebook page.

Get Up To Date Home Listings With URE iPad App

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Buying a home is generally a time-consuming process for most people. Fortunately, you can save yourself a lot of time and effort by making use of convenient home listing apps for homebuyers. 

United Real Estate offers an app designed for use with iPads. As long as you have iOS 4.0 or higher, you can download this app and use it to start searching for homes. This app makes it quick and easy for you to look through available properties and narrow down your options. It provides you with a number of benefits, including:

  • Up-to-date and highly accurate information on available real estate properties
  • Map that shows all homes for sale in the location you choose
  • Advanced search features that let you search by square footage, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, price range and lot size
  • Ability to search homes based on price reduction and newest listings
  • Views on property details
  • Close to 40 points of interest shown in your chosen location
  • Ability to save your searches
  • Convenient one-click access to United Real Estate representatives

Need more help finding your new home? Contact United Real Estate, and visit our Facebook page.

Buying as a Couple? Tips for Couples Purchasing a Home

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Buying a home together as a couple is an exciting time, but don’t let it become a source of tension between you. Owning a home is a huge commitment that both of you need to be ready for.

Use the following tips for couples purchasing a home before you start looking at available properties:

  • Discuss your preferences. It’s crucial to sit down and talk about what each of you wants in a home. Discuss things like location, type of home and what local amenities you prefer being close to. When you don’t talk about these beforehand, you could find out that your preferences are drastically different.
  • Check your credit reports. You both need to check your credit reports before applying for a mortgage. Take care of any errors, and talk to a lender about which debts you should try to pay off before submitting your application. Keep in mind that lenders weigh the lower credit score more heavily.
  • Get a mortgage pre-qualification. This provides you with a rough estimate of the amount you can qualify for on a mortgage. Factor this into your budget.

Ready to begin looking for a home? Call United Real Estate and follow our Facebook page.

Insuring Your First Home? Three Important Things to Consider

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When calculating the cost of your first home, don’t forget to factor in home insurance. This insurance, which is required in order to purchase a home, provides financial coverage in case your home is damaged.

When insuring your first home, keep these tips in mind:

  • Get full coverage. Don’t attempt to save money now by skimping on coverage. Your insurance should be enough to cover the cost of having to rebuild your home. Ideally, you should get extended replacement coverage and an inflation guarantee.
  • Get liability insurance. This insurance pays for legal and medical costs that you might be faced with if someone is injured on your property. It also covers you in case someone in your family causes damage to your neighbor’s property.
  • Cover your valuables. These won’t be included on your homeowners insurance policy, so you’ll be out of luck if they’re damaged or stolen. Purchase additional coverage to make sure that you’ll have enough money to replace jewelry, antiques and other valuables in your home.

Need professional help finding and buying your first homeVisit United Real Estate to find a local agent, and follow us on Facebook.

How to Plan for Your 2014 Real Estate Goals

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Is buying a house on your list of real estate goals this year? If so, you’re probably aware that it takes a lot of planning to find the right home and be able to purchase it.

Keep the following Houston real estate tips in mind when searching for a home this year:

  • Clean up your credit: Having a solid credit history is essential in order to be approved for a mortgage. Fix up your credit by paying off credit card debt or at least keeping low balances on your cards and always making payments on time.
  • Be realistic: Don’t look for homes that you can’t afford. Your search should only include properties that are within your price range. Otherwise, you could get in over your head financially.
  • Think long-term: Only buy a house if you plan on living in it for a few years or more. Selling a home sooner means that you could actually lose money.
  • Hire a realtor: Find a realtor who can help you find the best homes to look at and walk you through the buying process.

Other questions? Feel free to contact us and one of our agents can give you advice for the future.

Five Tips For Finding the Perfect Home

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Looking for your very first house can be exciting yet overwhelming. There are a lot of factors to consider before beginning your search.

The following tips on buying your first houseshould make the experience less stressful:

  • Location is everything: Look for a home that’s in a good neighborhood with decent property values. You might also want to be near good schools, your workplace and local amenities.
  • Know what you want: Write down the features you must have in a home on one list, then make other lists with features you don’t necessarily need and those you don’t want at all.
  • Gather information: Search online for information on recent home sales in your area, and look at the listing price for homes that are currently on the market. You’ll get a better idea of how much you’ll be paying that way.
  • Get a mortgage preapproval: Have a lender determine roughly how much you can afford to borrow for a mortgage.
  • Take notes: Keep track of the homes you see, and note the features each one has for the sake of comparison.

Need more advice on buying your first house? Visit United Real Estate, and stop by our Facebook page.

How Important is Location in Your Home Search?

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When it comes to buying your first house, you’ve probably heard that location is everything. Although there are several other factors to consider when searching for a home, it’s true that location is one of the most important.

Picking out the ideal neighborhood for your first home depends on your personal preferences, such as whether you want to live near a good school for your kids’ sake or whether you want to be close to work. In general, the best neighborhoods contain the following:

  • Property values that are on the rise or already high
  • A low crime rate
  • A good school district
  • Properties that are well-cared for
  • Easy access to employers, shops, parks, hospitals and other facilities
  • Higher number of owner-occupants as opposed to renters
  • Good traffic infrastructure

Just keep in mind that you might face greater competition for a home that’s located in a highly desirable neighborhood, so it’s important to know what kind of offer you should make. Enlist the help of a qualified realtor to make sure you don’t miss out on the home of your dreams.

Ready to start the home buying processContact United Real Estate, and visit our Facebook page for buying tips.