Buying a home is a dream for many people living in America today. Renting a home is like throwing away money every month. It helps the owner of that home build up equity without helping the renter. The problem is that many people do not have the funds in their bank accounts or budgets to gather up enough cash for a down payment. As lenders often ask for a down payment equal to 10% of the home’s total purchase price, it’s easy to see why so many middle class people keep renting. Some are smart enough to know how to put money back to buy a house though.
Compare Mortgage Rates
According to Freddie Mac, mortgage interest rates dropped for the first time in months at the beginning of 2017. Freddie Mac found that these rates dropped to 3.44% on 15-year fixed rate mortgages and to 4.20% on 30-year fixed rate mortgages. These figures represent the interest charged on home loans taken out this year alone. Comparing mortgage rates is a smart way for prospective home buyers to see the rates charged by different lenders and to see which lenders will give them the best rates to help them better afford their dream homes.
Look at Mortgage Types
Smart home buyers will compare and contrast different loan types to determine which one will help them spend less money on a loan. A fixed rate mortgage is a home loan that comes with one interest rate that never changes over the course of the loan. An adjustable rate mortgage is fairly different because the interest rate on that loan changes as the market changes. Bank Rate also describes an interest only jumbo loan, which allows a buyer to pay only on the interest on the loan for up to 10 years before making payments on the loan’s principal.
Think Outside the Box
Thinking outside the box can help almost anyone find a solid home without spending a lot of money and without saving for years. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, also known as HUD, offers residential properties for sale, including single family homes and buildings that can accommodate up to four families. Though anyone can purchase one of these homes with proper financing in place, HUD explains that homes will typically go to those willing to live in the home first before the department will offer those homes to investors. The Federal Housing Administration can also assist American citizens with housing purchases. It even has a program designed to help community workers purchase homes.
Create a Savings Account
One of the best ways to save for a new home is with a dedicated savings account. Many financial institutions now offer a round up plan. When an individual uses his or her debit card to make a purchase, the bank will round up to the next dollar and put that extra cash in the individual’s savings account. If a purchase cost $8.19, the bank will put $.81 cents in the account. Some will find it helpful to save any dollars they get back from making cash purchases and deposit those bills in their savings accounts later.
Save On Other Purchases
Comparison shopping helps customers find the best prices on the products and services that they need. Whether they save money on car insurance after retirement, landscaping or even new glasses, they have more money they can put back towards a down payment. Comparison sites allow shoppers to enter the product they want and view how much that item costs on multiple websites, including any shipping or handling fees charged by the site. Even saving a few dollars on groceries is a few dollars more towards a dream house. Smart home buyers know that saving and putting back cash and looking at mortgages and rates can help them buy the perfect home.
Purchasing your first home might be one of the most expensive purchases you’ll make, which makes it even more important to do it right. The best way to go about shopping for a house is to line yourself up with a good realtor, explore financing and determine the priorities you seek in a new home. Most first time buyers make one or two mistakes during the process of buying a home. However, using these tips can help you to avoid mistakes and highlight important items to consider as you begin shopping for homes.
Determine What Features You Need
Before looking at homes, make a checklist of the features you need. For example, you might list the number of bedrooms, a large yard, fencing, home office and a family room. Next, you could list features that would be nice to have like a swimming pool, garden or patio.
Contact a Realtor
Ideally, if you’ve never been through the home buying process, you should consider working with a realtor to find a new home. He or she can show you several homes, write contracts, make recommendations and provide guidance for you as you complete the home buying and closing processes. Working with a realtor to find homes in the neighborhoods you like can save you time and money.
Realtors have access to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), which is essentially a huge database of home listings supplied by real estate brokers. The listings include details and features about each property that is for sale. Your realtor can use the MLS to choose homes to fit your budget and location requirements, which makes it faster and easier to find your dream home.
Unfortunately, many new home buyers fail to take into consideration the importance of where the home is located. For instance, you may have found the perfect home, but if it’s too far from work it may turn into a major problem. Before choosing neighborhoods, consider these questions:
Is a short commute to work a requirement?
- Does the home need to be in a good school district?
- Do we want nearby access to entertainment?
- Is public transportation a requirement or just a bonus?
Household Costs and Other Expenses
It is smart to get a rough estimate of what your monthly expenses will run for a new house before purchasing. To start with you’ll have the principal and interest on the home. Add in insurance and taxes. You may have to factor in home owner association fees. Next, you’ll want to consider power and water utilities. Don’t forget telephone and internet services.
The home and location can affect the cost of homeowners insurance, which is required when carrying a loan on the property.
- Homes located near fire stations or hydrants usually result in a discount.
- Home security systems may qualify for better rates.
- Neighborhoods in high crime areas cost more to insure.
- Homes in known flood zones or areas prone to earthquakes are more expensive to insure.
Ordering home inspections on new or used homes isn’t a requirement for purchasing but it often proves to be a smart idea. Home inspectors provide an unbiased home inspection and cost about $300 to $500. They inspect the main household systems such as heating, cooling, electrical and plumbing.
Credit Check and Financing
Contact one of the three credit bureaus, and pull a free copy of your credit report before you consider financing and shopping for a home. Make sure the report appears to be accurate. The best interest rates for loans are offered to those people that have a good or higher credit score rating.
Keep in mind that you may have to put down as much as 20 percent for you down payment on the home. However, it’s possible, you may qualify for federally-backed loans, which often have lower interest rates, small down payments or no down payment required.
Before shopping for a home, contact several banks and loan institutions to check their interest rates. It’s also a smart idea to get pre-qualified for a loan before home shopping.
Take your time to find the right home that meets all you requirements. Consider working with a realtor and a home inspector for professional services and recommendations.
Tell us a little bit about your experience, company history and the services you offer.
At CRESTICO, we pride ourselves on being the company that is changing the face of the real estate industry with our top notch service philosophy which focuses on meeting your needs as a consumer. Our Home Ownership Services Strategy includes affiliations with mortgage, title and closing services, home warranty and other services that are essential in the real estate transactions that are made available to customers like you. It’s our attempt at making the home buying or selling experience less stressful to you, presented as a one-stop shopping experience. CRESTICO is your one-stop shop for all your real estate and mortgage lending needs. We were created for the purpose of serving a homeowner with the highest quality service and providing all the services you could possibly need in connection with the purchase and/or sale of your home.
We will work for you to get you everything you need. We have great relationships and ties in the community and real estate professionals, and can get you the best pricing possible on loans as well! Sometimes the details of buying and selling real estate can be confusing, scary, emotional and nerve racking. We believe in researching the details and presenting them in common terms in order to put your mind at ease and take you through the process with no stress and frustration.
Can you briefly explain what a reverse mortgage is?
A reverse mortgage is loan available to homeowners who are over 62 years of age. It enables them to convert some of their home equity into cash. Generally, it is a means to help retirees with limited income use the accumulated wealth in their homes to cover basic monthly living expenses and pay for health care. The loan is called a reverse mortgage because the traditional mortgage payback stream is reversed. Instead of making monthly payments to a lender, as with a traditional mortgage, the lender makes payments to the borrower.
What are the most common circumstances when a homeowner would qualify for a reverse mortgage and want to consider applying for one?
There are several factors required for a reverse mortgage, first the age qualification, meaning that borrowers listed on title must be 62 years old. Next, there must be a primary lien, meaning that a reverse mortgage must be the primary lien on the home. Any existing mortgage must be paid off using the proceeds from the reverse mortgage. (Reverse mortgage proceeds can be used.) Third, there are occupancy requirements, which means that the property used as collateral for the reverse mortgage must be the primary residence. Vacation homes and investor properties do not qualify. Fourth, there are the taxes and insurance which must be kept in current status along with other mandatory obligations, including condominium fees, or the borrower may be susceptible to default. Finally, the property condition must be kept up and the borrower is responsible for completing mandatory repairs and maintaining the condition of the property.
How long does the process typically take?
From application to closing, it generally takes 20 to 30 days, as in most typical real estate transactions.
What are some of the biggest issues you’ve seen homeowners in Southern California face when it comes to a reverse mortgage?
Unfortunately, California was one of the hardest hit markets in the recent economic crisis. Many seniors bore the brunt of the misfortune. Sadly, some lenders tended to aggressively pitch loans to seniors who cannot afford the fees associated with them, not to mention the property taxes and maintenance. Others wooed seniors with promises that the loans are free money that can be used to finance long-coveted cruises, without clearly explaining the risks. Some widows faced eviction after they were pressured to keep their name off the deed without being told that they could be left facing foreclosure after their husbands died. Now, as baby boomer generation heads for retirement and more seniors grapple with dwindling savings, the newly minted Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is working on new rules that could mean better disclosure for consumers and stricter supervision of lenders. More than 775,000 of such loans are outstanding, according to the federal government.
What advice would you give to people in the Southern California area who need help with a home loan?
I would encourage them to educate themselves on the options that they have when it comes to loan products and mortgage programs. At CRESTICO, we believe that the educated consumer always makes the best decision for himself and his family which ultimately results in a better society and economic environment for everyone.
What’s the best way for people to get in contact with you and your company?
You can visit us on the web at www.crestico.com or contact me directly via email at[email protected] or by telephone at (310) 933-4748.