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Buying a New Home in a Hot Real Estate Market? Here Are 4 Tips You Will Need to Be Successful

Are you in the market for a new house? In a buyer’s market, finding and closing on a beautiful home can seem very easy. However, if you are shopping when the market is hot, you may end up fighting bidding wars and losing your dream home to a competing buyer. Let’s take a look at four tips that you will need to be successful when house hunting in a hot local real estate market.

Tip #1: Do Your Research Ahead Of Time

It should go without saying that in a hot market you will need to move quickly. Making an effort to do all your research ahead of time will ensure that you do not have to later, once you’ve found the perfect dream home. Check in with your real estate agent to find out what paperwork and other material will be needed.

Tip #2: Get A Mortgage Pre-approval

Once you have found your dream home, you may discover that other buyers are interested or have submitted bids. In this case, it is crucial that you can demonstrate that you have your mortgage financing pre-approved. Remember that the seller wants to close their sale quickly and for the best price. Showing up with pre-approved mortgage financing proves that you are serious about buying their home.

Tip #3: Be Ready To Pounce (But Don’t Be Hasty!)

Speaking of being serious, it is essential that you are ready to pounce on the right listing. A hot market means that you won’t be the only potential buyer checking out a home. The last thing you want to do is find the right house, then end up losing the chance to buy it because of unnecessary delays.

Tip #4: Small Sacrifices Are Okay

The final tip to keep in mind is that sometimes you will have to make a small sacrifice to close the deal. For example, the seller may want some special terms added to the agreement. Alternatively, they might ask you to pick up some of the closing costs. Whatever the case, keep in mind that a hot market means that you lose a bit of leverage. If it’s a small sacrifice, it might be worth it.

Buying a house in a hot real estate market can be challenging, but a little preparation will go a long way in ensuring you are the winning bidder. When you are ready to buy your next home, get in touch with our professional team of mortgage experts. We are happy to help you find the right mortgage for your goals and financial situation.

Landlord Squeezing You for yet Another Rent Increase? It’s Time to Buy a Starter Home

Did you recently receive your annual notice that the rent is going up? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of renters are seeing more and more of their income drained away due to higher rents. To make matters worse, every dollar in rent is one that you are not saving, investing or using to build your net worth. If you’re feeling the pinch of higher rents, it might be time to buy your first starter home.

Comparing Rent With A Mortgage

Have you ever done the math to understand how close your monthly rent might be to a mortgage payment? Here’s a quick and easy exercise. Multiply your monthly rent by twelve, and then multiply that number by 25. For example, if your rent is $1000 per month, that is $12,000 per year and $300,000 over 25 years. So if nothing changed from today, you could afford a $300,000 mortgage.

Homes Are More Affordable Than You Think

Many first-time home buyers are convinced that they can’t afford to enter the market, but that is not the case. There are homes available that fit almost every budget or price range. In fact, it is less important to worry about the total cost and more important to worry about location, size and local amenities like schools and parks.

Remember, when you buy a house you aren’t just locking yourself into a rental contract. You are investing in a home and property have the potential to gain in value over time.

A Few Other Considerations

Of course, there are some considerations that you will need to make as you start down the path to homeownership. The first is that your mortgage is unlikely to be your only monthly expense. You will also encounter property and other taxes, utility fees and if you buy a condominium or apartment, homeowners’ association fees. You will also be responsible for maintenance and upkeep since you own the home. But that also means that you are free to customize and renovate as you see fit.

Keep in mind that it is never too late to escape the rental trap. When you’re ready to start building your future by investing in your first home, contact us. Our experienced mortgage team is happy to share financing options that will suit your budget.

How to Run a Quick Financial Health Check Before You Apply for a Mortgage

Are you planning on using a mortgage to help cover the cost of a new home? If so, you will want to prepare your finances and figure out how you will manage all those wallet-draining monthly expenses. Let’s take a look at how to run a quick financial health check to ensure you are ready to apply for a mortgage.

Update (Or Start) Your Monthly Budget

First, it is essential to get the basics out of the way. If you haven’t already, it’s time to start a monthly budget to keep track of your income and expenses. Once you have a mortgage, it will be important to prioritize your monthly payments so that you don’t end up falling behind.

Starting a budget is easy and can be done with mobile apps, software, a spreadsheet or a pen and paper. List all sources of income so that you know exactly how much cash you are working with. Then, list out every one of your expenses. It can be tough to remember them all, so consider using debit and credit card statements from the past few months as a reminder.

Get A Copy Of Your Credit Report

Next, you will want to get a copy of your credit report so you can see what potential mortgage lenders will see when assessing your financial history. This is a free service that you can request once per year, so be sure to take advantage. Note that you will want to use government-approved websites for requesting your credit report. Be wary of scams.

Do You Have A Down Payment?

A down payment is not required for every home purchase, but having one saved up can make the buying process easier. The amount you will want to have saved up will depend on the cost of your home, whether you plan on carrying private mortgage insurance and a variety of other factors. If possible, try to save up an amount close to (or more than) twenty percent of the home’s purchase price.

Ready? Chat With A Professional

Now that you have run a quick financial health check, it is time to meet with a mortgage professional to discuss your options. Contact us today to book an appointment with one of our friendly expert advisors. We are happy to help you with financing so you can buy your perfect dream home.

Mortgage 101: Understanding ‘PITI’ and What Goes in to Your Monthly Payments

Ask any friend or family member that owns a home and they will share that it takes a bit of management to keep all the expenses under control. Let’s explore the concept of PITI and why it is vital to have a clear picture of how much your home is costing you each month.

Just What Is PITI, Anyway?

PITI is an acronym that stands for “principal, interest, taxes and insurance,” which are the four main components that make up your housing costs.

Principal – this is the amount that you are paying against the total amount that you borrowed when you purchased the home. For example, if you used a mortgage to cover $200,000 of the home’s purchase price, the remaining balance of that $200,000 is the principal. A part of your monthly mortgage payment goes to paying down the principal.

Interest – this is the extra cost that the lender charges for the service of lending you the principal amount. For most mortgages, you will see this expressed as an “interest rate” which is a small percent charged on the loan. A portion of your monthly mortgage payment goes to paying down the interest owed.

Taxes – tax costs are not included in your monthly mortgage payment, but will be added by your lender as part of your yearly expenses when calculating your debt-to-income ratio (see below). Property taxes and other assessments will need to be paid each year.

Insurance – this is the cost of insuring your mortgage and your home. Like taxes, your mortgage lender will typically include some insurance costs in your DTI ratio calculation.

How Lenders Use PITI

Many mortgage lenders use some form of PITI calculation when determining your debt-to-income ratio. This ratio helps the lender understand your ability to manage your monthly mortgage payments without being at risk of missing one. The lower the ratio, the more likely you can afford all your monthly expenses.

Don’t Forget Your Other Monthly Expenses

Finally, don’t forget that along with PITI you will have a variety of other monthly expenses that need to be budgeted for. Leave some space for utilities, repairs and other renovations that need to be made throughout the year.

Once you have the full picture of what is coming in and going out each month, managing your expenses is easy. When you are ready to discuss or apply for a mortgage, get in touch with us. Our friendly team of mortgage professionals is happy to help.

Downsizing? Here’s What You Can Expect When You Move From a House to a Condo

Whether the kids have moved out or you just aren’t using the extra bedrooms, having a house that feels ‘too big’ is rarely fun. In today’s post, we will share a few changes you can expect when you downsize from a large house to a smaller apartment or condo.

Why Downsize At All?

As you might imagine, having too much space is the primary reason that couples and families downsize. Larger homes cost more to maintain and can feel empty if it’s just one or two people living there. In many cases, old items and clutter tend to build up as there is so much storage space. Downsizing to a smaller home helps to maintain a lifestyle that is more efficient but no less luxurious.

Ask Yourself: Are You Ready?

Another consideration that you will need to make: are you ready to move? If you are retired from work, then you likely have enough time on your hands to manage a move. Conversely, if you and your spouse are both working full-time and live near your workplace, you may want to source a smaller home nearby.

Don’t forget that if you own the house you are living in now, this might mean having to list and sell it while buying your new home. This is a common situation and isn’t a significant problem, but it will require a bit of scheduling and financial planning.

The Hardest Part: Choosing What To Keep

Ask any couple or family that has downsized their home about the toughest part, and many will share that it was choosing what stays and what goes. When space is at a premium, everything from shoes to appliances needs to be considered.

Spend some time going through each room in your house, taking an inventory of what you have. Are there any family heirlooms or other emotional items that you can’t part ways with? After that, is there anything that will be usable in your new home? Everything else should be considered fair game. Sell it, donate it or toss it out.

Moving to a smaller home can seem challenging at first, but it is a lifestyle choice that can pay significant dividends. When you are ready to make a move, contact our professional mortgage team.

Taking Out a Mortgage for the First Time? Learn Why a Condo Might Be a Great First Home

Are you starting to tire of paying your monthly rent to someone and never building any equity? Renting forever can be a significant pain, especially as you’re contributing to someone else’s financial well-being. The good news is that there are affordable real estate options out there for those investing in their first home. Below we will share a few excellent reasons why an apartment or condo might be the best choice for a first-time home buyer.

A Manageable Monthly Payment

In most markets across the country, condos and apartments are available at a significantly lower cost than a full-sized house. Buying a less-expensive home means that your monthly mortgage payments will, in turn, be lower. If you are single or a young professional trying to start a family, that extra money can be a massive boost to your monthly budget.

Note that while your monthly mortgage payment may be lower, you are still responsible for other maintenance and upkeep fees. The most common is known as a homeowners’ association fee, to which all condo owners in the same development contribute. These funds are used to upkeep the building or property as well as things like landscaping, a pool or gym, and other amenities.

A Smaller Down Payment

In the same vein, buying a less-expensive home also means that you can put a smaller down payment on it when you close the sale. In many cases you are required to place a certain percentage – typically 20 percent – down to avoid having to purchase private mortgage insurance. Having to commit less in your down payment leaves more money in the bank for other purposes.

An Excellent Future Investment Property

Don’t forget that when you are ready to upgrade and move into a larger house, you can keep a condo as a rental or investment property. Once your mortgage is paid off, you are only responsible for the monthly maintenance fees and taxes. So if you can rent the condo out to a tenant, you will have an excellent source of cash flow that can help to pay for your new home or fund other activities.

The above are just a few of the many reasons why a condo can be a great starter home for first-time buyers. To learn more about your mortgage options, contact us today. Our team is happy to help.

Let’s Talk Buyer Qualification: How to Ensure You Sell Your Home to the Right Buyer

Are you listing your home for sale? If so, it is time to get ready to meet with buyers and their real estate agents. And while you surely want to sell your home as quickly as possible, you will also want to do your homework to make sure you’re selling to the right person. Let’s explore the process of buyer qualification and why it’s important to do a little digging into potential buyers of your home. . . . → Read More: Let’s Talk Buyer Qualification: How to Ensure You Sell Your Home to the Right Buyer

The Quick and Easy Guide to Finding the Best Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home

Is it time to move on from your house, townhouse or condo? If a sale is in your near future, you will want to start looking for a professional selling agent or broker to help manage the process. Let’s take a look at our quick and easy guide to finding the best real estate agent to handle your home sale. . . . → Read More: The Quick and Easy Guide to Finding the Best Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home

Real Estate Negotiations: 3 Tricks That You Can Use to Ensure Yours Is the Winning Bid

You’ve toured through a number of listings, attended all the open houses and have found your potential new dream home. Now the hard part begins, especially if you’re working against other buyers who are keen on getting the same home as you. Let’s take a look at three tricks that you can use to make sure the bid you submit on a home is the one that wins. . . . → Read More: Real Estate Negotiations: 3 Tricks That You Can Use to Ensure Yours Is the Winning Bid

Trying to Sell Your Home As a Fixer-Upper? Highlight These Key Areas to Attract Eager Buyers

Are you going to sell your house in the near future? If it’s a bit of a ‘fixer-upper’ – meaning that it’s in need of some renovation work – you may find some challenges in marketing it to potential buyers. Reducing the listing price is one option available to you, but there are other ways to highlight this kind of home. Let’s have a look at three key areas that you’ll want to focus on when trying to sell a home in less than perfect condition. . . . → Read More: Trying to Sell Your Home As a Fixer-Upper? Highlight These Key Areas to Attract Eager Buyers