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Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri & Al Mussi on 9/26/2017

Believe it or not, getting pre-approved for a mortgage can be quick and simple, even for a first-time homebuyer. In fact, here are three tips to help a first-time homebuyer streamline the process of receiving pre-approval for a mortgage:

1. Meet with Several Lenders

Many mortgage lenders are available in cities and towns nationwide. Meanwhile, these mortgage experts are happy to teach first-time homebuyers about assorted mortgage options and help them get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Set up face-to-face meetings with various lenders in your area. That way, a first-time homebuyer can gain unparalleled insights into a wide range of mortgage options.

In addition, don't hesitate to ask questions during meetings with banks and credit unions. Mortgage lenders possess comprehensive mortgage expertise, and as such, a first-time homebuyer can rely on these mortgage professionals to receive the support that he or she needs to make an informed decision.

2. Understand Your Credit Score

Do you know your credit score? Ultimately, a first-time homebuyer's credit score may dictate his or her ability to obtain the ideal mortgage.

An individual can request a free copy of his or her credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) once a year. This report may prove to be exceedingly valuable, as it can help a homebuyer identify opportunities to improve his or her credit score before a mortgage application is submitted.

Also, if you identify errors in your credit report, it is paramount to contact the agency that provided the report immediately. This will allow you to correct any potential errors quickly and ensure that they won't affect your ability to get the best possible mortgage.

3. Consider Your Homebuying Budget

A first-time homebuyer may have lofty expectations prior to entering the real estate market. However, this individual should consider his or her finances before submitting a mortgage application.

With a budget in hand, a homebuyer can establish realistic expectations as he or she tries to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Plus, this homebuyer may be better equipped than others to obtain pre-approval for a mortgage and accelerate his or her search for the perfect residence.

Lastly, it may be worthwhile for a first-time homebuyer to meet with a real estate agent to learn more about assorted mortgage options.

A real estate agent understands the challenges associated with purchasing a house for the first time. As a result, this housing market professional can teach a homebuyer about all aspects of the property buying journey and help this buyer plan accordingly.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent can set up home showings, keep a homebuyer up to date about new residences as they become available and negotiate with a home seller on a buyer's behalf. This housing market professional will even provide honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations to make it easy for a property buyer to acquire a top-notch residence at a budget-friendly price.

Move one step closer to purchasing your dream house – use the aforementioned tips, and a first-time homebuyer can speed up the process of getting pre-approved for a mortgage.




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Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri & Al Mussi on 7/18/2017

Tired of renting an apartment? Buy a house, and you can reap the benefits of homeownership for years to come.

Ultimately, there are many wonderful reasons to start a search for your dream home today, including:

1. You can enjoy the freedom of owning your own residence.

Let's face it – nothing beats the freedom of owning your own residence, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

If you launch a search for your own house, you can find a residence that matches your personality and budget. Plus, you can always decorate and customize your house however you choose. And if you complete myriad home upgrades or maintenance, you may be able to boost your house's value – something that may prove to be important if you eventually decide to sell your residence.

2. You can capitalize on various tax benefits.

Believe it or not, buying a house may enable you to reap myriad tax benefits.

The U.S. Tax Code allows homeowners to deduct the interest paid on a mortgage and property taxes. Also, if you study the U.S. Tax Code closely, you may find that you can deduct some of the costs involved in a home purchase.

3. You can pay predictable housing costs for a set period of time.

With a fixed-rate mortgage in hand, you can pay the same amount each month for the duration of your mortgage. This means you won't have to worry about fluctuating housing costs; instead, you'll pay the same total each month – without exception.

Of course, homebuyers who choose an adjustable-rate mortgage can enjoy fixed housing costs for a set amount of time too. On the other hand, those who select an adjustable-rate mortgage likely will need to plan ahead for a potential increase in mortgage costs after three, five, seven or 10 years.

Clearly, there's a lot to like about buying a house. For those who want to enter the housing market today, it certainly helps to work with an experienced real estate agent as well.

A real estate agent allows you to take the guesswork out of pursuing a residence in any housing market, at any time. In fact, this housing market professional will ensure you can streamline the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

In most instances, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about new houses as they become available, teach you about the ins and outs of shopping for a residence and set up home showings. Furthermore, a real estate agent will negotiate with home sellers on your behalf, guaranteeing that you can get the best price on any house.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is available to respond to any homebuying concerns or queries. This means you can get the expert insights that you need to make informed decisions at each stage of the homebuying journey.

Take the next step to pursue your dream residence – employ an experienced real estate agent, and you should have no trouble transforming your homeownership dream into a reality.




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Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri & Al Mussi on 2/7/2017

Buying your dream home should be simple. Unfortunately, challenges may arise during the homebuying journey, particularly for those who fail to budget accordingly.

Establishing a budget before you begin your home search is paramount. With a budget in place, you can explore houses that fall within your price range and move closer to finding a great residence that you can enjoy for years to come.

Ultimately, creating a homebuying budget can be easy – here are three tips to help homebuyers establish budgets.

1. Consider your utility costs.

Although you may be able to get pre-approved for a mortgage and determine exactly how much you'll need to pay for a house, you'll still need to account for utility expenses month after month.

Electricity, heat and other utility costs can add up quickly. However, a diligent homebuyer should have no trouble estimating his or her monthly utility fees.

Examining your current utility expenses can help you understand how much you may wind up paying in utility charges at your new address. Also, don't forget to consult with your real estate agent, as this professional may be able to provide details about the average utility costs associated with a particular residence.

2. Manage your debt.

If you decide to purchase a "fixer-upper," i.e. a home that requires extensive home repairs, you'll likely need to commit substantial time and resources to complete home renovation projects. Thus, you'll want to consider any home repair tasks that you may need to complete at a new address and budget for them before you make an offer on a house.

In addition, knowing your credit score can help you understand your debt. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion), and each report will provide information about any outstanding debt. That way, you can learn about your debt and find ways to minimize it prior to purchasing a residence.

3. Account for closing costs and miscellaneous expenses.

Home closing costs will include your loan origination, title insurance and appraisal fees and often range between 3 percent and 7 percent of your total loan amount. You'll want to account for these expenses as you establish a homebuying budget to ensure you can secure your dream house without delay.

Spend some time learning about all of the expenses that may impact your monthly home expenses too. For example, if you purchase a condo, you may face monthly homeowners association fees in addition to your mortgage costs. Or, if you plan to have a baby in the near future, you'll want to consider how the costs of raising a child may impact your ability to cover your mortgage expenses.

If you ever have concerns or questions about establishing a homebuying budget, be sure to consult with your real estate agent. Remember, your real estate agent is available to help you in any way possible and will do what it takes to ensure you can establish the right homebuying budget.




Tags: budgeting   Buying a home  
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Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri & Al Mussi on 1/10/2017

Buying a home is one of the largest commitments you will make in your life. It's also one of the best. Being a homeowner comes with a sense of independence that renting simply can't match. You can do with your home whatever you like, making it the place you love to go home to at the end of the day. Knowing when you're ready to buy a home is a complicated issue. But it's also a learning process that everyone is new to at some time in their lives. Sure, buying a home can be anxiety-inducing. But you don't need to add any more nerves to the process because you feel uninformed. In this article, we'll lay out a basic checklist that will help you determine when and whether you're ready to buy a home so that you can worry less about your credentials and focus more on finding the right home.

The checklist

  • Finances. We hate to put it first, but the reality is your finances are one of the main things that determines your preparedness for becoming a homeowner. Unlike renting, there's a lot more that goes into the home financing process than just your income. Banks will want to see your credit score to ensure you have a history of paying your bills on time. They'll also use your credit information to see how much debt you have and if you'll be able to take on homeowner's expenses on top of that. Another financial impact for buying a house is to determine if you can afford a downpayment. It's one thing to see that you can cover your bills with your income, but unless you have enough money saved for the downpayment (and any emergency expenses that may come up) you should wait a while and save before hopping into the market.
  • What are your longterm plans? Many people are excited at the thought of home ownership to the extent that they forget their life circumstances. If you have a job that might cause you to relocate in the next 5-7 years you might want to consider renting rather than buying. Depending on factors like the price of the home, cost of living in your area, and how long you plan on living in your new home, it may be cheaper to buy or rent in the long run. There are calculators available online that will tell you which option is probably more cost-effective for you. As a general rule, however, if you plan on living in a new home for under 5-7 years, it might be cheaper to rent.
  • Do you have the time and patience to be a homeowner? Owning a home means you can't call on the landlord to fix your leaks anymore. Similarly, you probably won't be able to depend on someone else to shovel snow or mow the lawn for you. It takes work to be a homeowner, and if your job has you away from home for long periods of time or working very long hours, renting might not be appropriate at this time.
  • Plan for new expenses. If you can comfortably pay rent and you find out your home loan payments will be comparable, you should know that there will likely be new expenses to consider as well. Home insurance, property taxes, and expenses for things like sewer, plumbing and electrical repairs all should be taken into consideration. Additionally, you will likely have new utility bills, including electricity, water, oil, cable, and others depending on the home.




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Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri & Al Mussi on 10/4/2016

Condominiums and houses offer rent-to-own options. Renting your way into home ownership can take the fear out of owning a home. It gives you the chance to transition from relying on a maintenance professional to make all the repairs on your home to you starting to take on more of that responsibility. Work with a realtor to locate competitively priced rent to own properties in neighborhoods you love. Rent to Own Options You can also research rent to own properties online. Foreclosure houses can yield auction like savings. Walk through foreclosure and short sell properties. Although these homes can net you significant savings, they could also come with repair headaches. After you land on the home that you want to rent to own, negotiate a good price. Depending on the laws in the city where you live and on the particular rent to own agreement that you sign, you could have one to five years to rent the property before you enter an agreement as a buyer. Use this time to save a down payment on the home or another property. You could also use the time to strengthen your credit scores. Unlike traditional home buying agreements, you may have to pay an option price before you move into the house. If you want to rent and leave the option to buy open so that it’s not a requirement that you buy the house at the end of the rental agreement, state this in the lease agreement. Other agreements may have rent with the requirement to buy legal verbiage in them. Read through your contract thoroughly. Working with a realtor to find a rent to own property? Ask your realtor to review the agreement before you sign it. Accepting Maintenance Responsibilities If you’re renting so that you can improve your credit and you don’t plan to buy the house that you’re renting, consider adding in a clause that makes you responsible for maintenance but that leaves you open to walk away from buying the property at the end of the lease. You’ll gain firsthand experience as to what it’s like to perform or pay for all repairs needed at a home. Considering that maintenance is a leading reason why people put off buying a house, this option might be perfect for you. Other reasons to opt to take on maintenance while leaving the requirement to buy out of your lease agreement include if you serve on active duty in the military, work a civilian job that requires you to travel frequently or if you are planning on relocating to another area in a few years. If you do sign an agreement that requires you to own the house at the end of the lease and you don’t obtain financing or decide not to buy the property, you’ll be out of the option money that you paid. So, give rent to own homes as much thought as you would if you were, in fact, buying the house.




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