First Time Home Buyers

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.

Five Real Estate Terms You Should Know

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Whether you’re buying or selling, you’ll need to become familiar with common real estate terms.This helps you better understand what’s going on during the buying or selling process.

Here are five terms you should know when dealing with real estate:

  • Closing costs: This refers to all of the costs that the buyer and seller pay upon closing, which include mortgage processing fees, title insurance, transfer taxes and brokerage commission.
  • CMA: This refers to a comparative market analysis, which contains information on the prices of similar homes for sale in the area. A CMA helps you decide how much to sell your home for.
  • Fixture: This refers to components of a home that are permanent, such as light fixtures, landscaping and window coverings. These must be dealt with carefully during negotiations in order to avoid disputes.
  • Listing: This refers to the agreement a seller and real estate broker have for marketing and selling the home. It’s sometimes used in reference to the home that’s being sold.
  • Title insurance: This insurance policy provides protection from ownership claims that are questionable.

Need professional help buying or selling a home? Contact a local agent at United Real Estate, and visit us on Facebook.

Budgeting Tips for New Homeowners

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The costs associated with buying a new home add up quickly. That’s why it’s crucial for you to make sure you have a budget in place. Otherwise, your new home could end up draining your finances.

Use the following tips on budgeting for new homeowners to ensure that you spend your money wisely:

  • Set aside money for repairs: Make sure you can afford to take care of minor maintenance issues before they become larger ones. You also never know when major problems will come up, such as a burst pipe.
  • Hire professionals: Look for qualified and reputable contractors to do repairs on your home instead of attempting to do them yourself, which could end up costing you more money.
  • Limit spending on decorating and remodeling: Take your time filling your home with new furniture and having things replaced or fixed up, so you won’t overspend right after buying your new home.
  • Hire an accountant for taxes: This helps ensure that you’ll include all of the homeowner deductions you’re entitled to, which helps maximize your refund.

Ready to begin looking for a new homeContact United Real Estate to speak to a local agent, and visit us on Facebook.

The Difference Between Pre-Qualification and Pre-Approval

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When it comes to financing your new home, you’ll need to be approved for a home loan. Before that can happen, though, you need to know roughly how big of a loan you’ll most likely need. This is where the terms “pre-qualified” and “pre-approved” come into play.

Getting pre-qualified happens first and means that you’ll find out how much of a mortgage you might be approved for. This step doesn’t involve as much scrutiny as pre-approval, so you won’t be going through a credit check or be asked to provide tons of information on your financial situation. You’ll also learn about the different types of mortgages, so you can find the one that would be best for you.

Being pre-approved is more in-depth than getting pre-qualified. Your lender will go over your credit report and look closely at your finances. You’ll also need to fill out a mortgage application and provide the paperwork that the lender requests. You’ll get a specific loan amount, which you can use to negotiate the price of a home.

Getting started with the home buying process? Visit United Real Estate to find a local agent, and stop by our Facebook page.

Five Basic Home Inspection Mistakes to Avoid

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Having a home inspection done is an essential part of the home buying process. It provides you with information on the home’s condition, so you can factor in the cost of needed repairs before settling on a price.

When it’s time to have an inspection done, avoid making the following mistakes:

  • Focusing too much on cost: Hiring the cheapest inspection company could cost you more money down the road when you suddenly encounter problems that you weren’t aware of. Hire a reliable inspector instead.
  • Not being there: Going in-person gives you the chance to ask questions about the home’s condition and find out more about it.
  • Skipping new construction inspections: New construction should always be inspected in case the contractors made mistakes that could lead to future trouble.
  • Expecting precise estimates: Your inspector can tell you about how long certain systems will be good for, such as the central air unit, but it’s only a rough estimate.
  • Ignoring the inspector’s advice: Follow up on the inspector’s recommendations before closing on the home.

Need professional help finding your next homeVisit United Real Estate to find an agent, and stop by our Facebook page for more buying tips.

Three Easy Ways to Save for a Down Payment on a Home

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Offering a down payment is a normal part of the home buying process, but it’s one that many struggle with. Thankfully, you don’t necessarily have to wait several years to set aside enough money for this expense.

Here are a few simple tips on saving for down payment, so you can buy a new home in the near future:

  • Check out government programs for home buyers. Your local or state government might offer programs to help residents purchase a home. You might be able to get financial assistance as a first-time buyer or a loan to cover your down payment.
  • Cut down on regular expenses. You can save quite a bit of money by shopping around for lower insurance rates or by negotiating lower rates on cable, Internet and phone bills.
  • Use IRA money. If you’re buying your first home, you can take $10,000 or less from your IRA to use as part of your down payment. This transaction isn’t subject to early withdrawal fees.

Are you ready to start looking for your next homeVisit United Real Estate to find a local agent, and stop byour Facebook page for home buying tips.

Five Tips That Will Help You Secure a Mortgage

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Unless you’re in the rare position of being able to pay cash for a new home, you’re going to need a home loan to cover the cost. Obtaining a mortgage is more difficult now than it was before the 2008 recession hit, so it’s important to boost your chances of securing one.

Use the following tips to help you get the home loan you need:

  • Get rid of debt. Pay off credit cards, if possible, to reduce your debt-to-income ratio. Aim to keep this ratio lower than 36 percent.
  • Don’t apply for credit cards. Applying for new credit will lower your credit score, which can hurt your chances of getting a mortgage.
  • Fix your credit score. Make sure there are no errors on your credit report, and immediately correct any errors that you might find.
  • Offer a higher down payment. Make an offer of 20 percent or more, if you can afford to. This is a big help if your credit score isn’t high.
  • Take your time. Give yourself at least six months to financially prepare to apply for a mortgage.

Need more professional advice on obtaining a mortgage? Speak to a United Real Estate agent, and check out our Facebook page.

Bad Credit? Why Mortgages Aren’t Out of the Question

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Having poor credit doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck renting for several years. It’s possible to get a mortgage although it will take some extra effort to do so.

Expect to pay more if your credit’s bad. You might need to offer a higher down payment, and your monthly payment and interest rate may be higher than they would be for someone with better credit. You should focus on working with a lender who has experience helping people with poor credit get mortgages. Your lender will want to know why your credit is in its current shape. If you ran into sudden and unavoidable financial hardship, such as job loss, medical bills or a death in the family, you stand a better chance of being approved for a loan. If your credit is bad due to missed payments or late payments, this will lower your chance of getting a mortgage. Your lender might be able to help you find ways to boost your credit before applying for a loan.

Need help getting a mortgage with bad credit score? Visit United Real Estate to find an agent, and stop by our Facebook page for more loan tips.

Financial Considerations: Four Things Not to Do After a Loan Preapproval

A loan pre-approval is an important step in the home buying process. It shows how much of a loan you can realistically afford, based on your credit rating, income and expenses.

Keep in mind that there are certain things to do after a loan pre-approval to boost your chances of getting a final approval. These include:

  • Don’t apply for new credit: Since your lender will do another credit check before approving your loan, don’t do anything that will negatively affect your credit rating. Applying for new credit means that your score will take a hit.
  • Don’t pay off all your debt: You could be using up money that you might need for your new house. Also, closing credit cards can lower your credit score.
  • Don’t co-sign loans: These factor into your debt-to-income ratio and affect your credit score. Avoid co-signing any loans, including car and student loans.
  • Don’t change jobs: This can cause delays with the lender because they’ll need to verify your employment.

Now that you know a few things to do after a loan pre-approval, are you ready to get started with the home buying processVisit United Real Estate and our Facebook page to locate an agent.

Buying Your First House? Get an Official Free Credit Report

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Having enough money for a down payment set aside is just one of the financial concerns involved in buying your first house. You’ll also need to make sure your credit is in good shape to boost your chances of getting approved for a mortgage.

You can check your credit by ordering a free credit report once a year from each of the three major credit reporting companies, which are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. The report shows your address, how much you owe on different debts and if you’ve filed for bankruptcy or been sued by a creditor. When you apply for a home loan, the lender will use this information to determine if your loan should be approved. Order your free report from the credit reporting companies online at This is the only legitimate website to place orders through for your free annual report. Avoid going to other sites that claim to offer the same thing because they often turn out to be scams.

Once you’ve checked your credit, we can help you get started on buying your first house. Visit United Real Estate and stop by our Facebook page to learn more.