Eleanor Osborn's Blog
Believe it or not, the process of buying a home can become long and complicated. And if you're not careful, you may encounter many hurdles that prevent you from acquiring your dream residence.
Lucky for you, we're here to teach you about the ins and outs of buying a house and help you simplify the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.
Now, let's take a look at three common misconceptions associated with buying a home.
1. You will be able to acquire a house in a matter of days.
The process of locating your dream home is unlikely to happen overnight. Instead, a homebuyer usually will need to perform extensive housing market research to discover a residence that meets or exceeds his or her expectations.
Typically, a homebuyer will look at several houses before he or she can find the right residence. This homebuyer then will need to submit an offer on a house. And if a home seller accepts the homebuyer's proposal, a home inspection will need to be completed before a home purchase is finalized.
It is important to set realistic expectations for your home search. In most instances, it may take a few weeks or months to find your perfect residence. But with a diligent approach to your home search, you'll be able to discover a house that can serve you well for years to come.
2. You will be able to buy a home for less than a property's initial asking price.
Understanding the differences between a buyer's market and a seller's market is essential for a homebuyer.
In a buyer's market, many high-quality residences are available. This market usually favors homebuyers, and in many instances, enables property buyers to secure great houses at budget-friendly prices.
On the other hand, a seller's market features a shortage of first-rate properties. As a result, this market favors home sellers, and many homebuyers may compete with one another to secure the best houses.
Regardless of whether you're operating in a buyer's or seller's market, it is paramount to avoid the temptation to submit a "lowball" offer on a residence. By doing so, a homebuyer can minimize the risk of missing out on an opportunity to acquire his or her perfect residence.
3. You can find your dream home without help from a real estate agent.
When it comes to buying a house, the early bird catches the worm. Therefore, an informed, persistent homebuyer is more likely than others to locate a terrific home at an affordable price.
Ultimately, working with a real estate agent is ideal. With a real estate agent at your side, you can receive expert assistance throughout the homebuying journey.
A real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new houses as they become available and much more. He or she also will respond to your homebuying questions and ensure you can acquire a stellar home in no time at all.
Take the guesswork out of buying a house – collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can make your homeownership dreams come true.
Being in the market for a new home can be both an exciting experience and a scary one! It not only represents a huge financial commitment, but it also forces you to step out of your "comfort zone."
That's especially true if you're a first-time home buyer. When you make the switch from being a renter to a home owner, you no longer have the "luxury" of depending on your landlord for repairs, yard maintenance, or help with plumbing emergencies. Now, when the AC quits or the furnace conks out, the responsibility (and cost) of getting it fixed rests squarely on your shoulders!
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize the possibility of incurring major expenses during the first couple years of owning a home. While there are (usually) no guarantees that household mechanical systems won't fail or that other crises won't befall you as a new homeowner, there are choices you can make that will reduce the chances of being saddled with unexpected expenses.
Buying a home with a newer roof, energy-efficient appliances, updated HVAC system, and a dry basement are four ways you can sidestep many predictable problems down the road. Wear and tear will eventually take its toll on everything from hot water heaters to microwave ovens, but if you can postpone having to replace appliances, roofs, and climate-control systems for several years or more, it will be a lot easier on you and your budget!
So all things being equal, home ownership will be more pleasurable and affordable if you choose a home with recent upgrades, replacements, and improvements -- preferably, those done within the past five or ten years. Besides comparing the maintenance history of houses you're considering, there's also the essential step of hiring an experienced structural inspector. When you've narrowed down your house-buying possibilities to one preferred home, a property inspector can help you identify "red flags" and potential problems before you close on that house.
As your real estate agent will probably tell you, if any major problems are identified in the home inspection process, you may be in a position to renegotiate the agreement or withdraw your offer, entirely. Since legalities are often complex and every real estate transaction is different, however, it's always essential to consult with an experienced real estate attorney whenever questions, problems, or complications arise in a real estate purchase or sale.
While it's a good idea to "expect the unexpected" when purchasing and moving into a new home, it pays to work with a team of trusted advisors. Working with a seasoned real estate agent, a knowledgeable real estate attorney, and a reputable property inspector will help make sure that your experience is both satisfying and relatively problem free! Knowing what you want and being adamant about what matters most to you should also serve you well in the house buying process.
Shopping for a home is an exciting time for any hopeful homeowner. After weeks of scouring listings looking for the perfect home in the ideal location for you and your family, it can seem like you’ve found the needle in the haystack.
When it’s time to go visit that home, it’s easy to put on rose-colored lenses and overlook issues that should, at the very least, be taken into consideration when it comes to deciding whether or not you should make a bid on the home and how much you should offer.
Today’s post is all about preparing you for that first viewing. We’ll give you tips on what to look out for and how to factor these things into your equation when it comes to making an offer.
Check the listing for omissions
Even if a home looks perfect on paper (or on its website listing), it’s still quite likely that there are things you’ll want to know about before considering an offer. A home listing should attempt to address several questions you might have. But ultimately, it’s main goal is to attract interest in the home.
So, what type of things should be in the listing that the seller might leave out?
Poor street conditions, heavy traffic, and blind driveways are all things that will factor into your decision but most likely won’t be mentioned in a listing
Odors of any kind can be off-putting and difficult to remove. Some homeowners may not even know that their home has an offensive odor if they’ve become used to it.
Room omissions. If the home is listed as having two bathrooms but there are only photos of one, this could be a sign that there are problems with the second bathroom that the seller doesn’t want you to see quite yet.
Top dollar home repairs
A professional home inspection will be able to give you an idea of the kind of money you’ll need to spend on renovations in the coming years. But why wait? When touring a home, ask questions about the last time important renovations and repairs were made.
Roofs, septic systems, and electrical work are just a few of the things that are expensive to repair or replace. If the previous homeowner has a small family or lives alone and you plan on moving in with a houseful of kids, you might find that your impact on the septic and electrical systems of the home are too much for the house to handle. You’ll want to take this into account before considering a bid on the home.
The cost of heating a home in the winter and keeping it cool in the summer can be hefty if the home isn’t properly sealed and weatherproofed. Ask the current homeowner what they spend per month on utilities to get an idea of what you might be spending.
Then, take a look at the windows and doors. Cracks, malfunctioning locks, and worn weatherstripping are all signs that the home will need some work to be energy-efficient.
Don’t ignore the little things
Small fixes may not seem like a big deal when viewing a home. They can even deceive you into thinking that you’re getting a good deal by buying a fixer-upper for a price that’s lower than the market average.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that small fixes around the house are a sign that bigger problems are also being neglected. Don’t be too quick to assume the house will be a good deal before getting it professionally inspected.
You can ask any homeowner-buying and owning a home is expensive. Mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities, and other bills quickly add up.
If you want to buy a home but don’t have a large down payment saved, odds are you’ve discovered something called private mortgage insurance (PMI).
PMI is an extra monthly payment that you make (on top of your mortgage payment) when you don’t have enough to make a large (20%) down payment on your home.
However, if you want to buy a home and don’t want to tack on an extra monthly payment for PMI, you have options. In today’s post, I’m going to talk about some ways to avoid paying PMI on your mortgage so you can save more money in the long run.
Before we talk about getting rid of PMI, let’s spend a minute on what to expect when you do have to pay it.
PMI typically costs 0.30% to %1.15% of your total loan balance annually. That means that your PMI payments will decrease a moderate amount as you pay off your loan.
Furthermore, once you have paid off 22% of your loan, your PMI will be cancelled and you’ll only be responsible for your regular monthly mortgage payments.
Getting PMI waived early
With conventional loans, you can request to have your PMI cancelled once you’ve paid off 20% of the mortgage. However, many buyers with PMI are using some form of first-time buyer loan, such as an FHA loan.
With an FHA loan, you’ll be stuck with PMI for the lifetime of the loan if you don’t make a down payment of 10% or more. That’s a lot of PMI payments, especially if you take out a 30 year loan, and it can quickly add up.
If you have an FHA loan with FHA insurance, the only way to cancel the insurance is to refinance into a non-FHA insured loan. And remember--refinancing has its own costs and complications.
Making it to the 20% repayment mark
On conventional loans, the best way to get rid of PMI is to reach your 20% repayment mark as soon as possible. That could mean aggressively paying off your mortgage until you reach that point.
This can be achieved by making extra payments, or just paying more each month. However, you don’t want to neglect other debt that could be accruing costly interest in favor of paying off your loans. Make sure you do the math and find out which debt will be more expensive before neglecting other debt.
Once you do reach the 20% repayment mark, you’ll have to remember to apply to have your PMI canceled with your lender. Otherwise, it will be canceled automatically at 22%.
For those who want to enjoy a seamless homebuying experience, it helps to prepare accordingly. That way, you will be ready to identify and address any hurdles that come your way during the homebuying journey.
Ultimately, there are lots of things you can do to avoid a complex homebuying journey, such as:
1. Establish Homebuying Criteria
If you enter the housing market with homebuying criteria in hand, you can search for residences that match your expectations. Best of all, you may be better equipped than ever before to streamline your quest to find and acquire your dream home.
To craft homebuying criteria, think about what you require from a house. For instance, if you need a home that is located near your office in the city, you can hone your house search to residences in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you want a home that offers two or more bedrooms, you can search for a house that provides the space you need.
You may want to create a list of home must-haves, too. This list may help you simultaneously narrow your home search and speed up the homebuying journey.
2. Know Your Homebuying Budget
There is no need to focus on homes that fall outside your price range. Instead, develop a homebuying budget, and you can avoid the risk of wasting time pursuing a house that you are unable to afford.
Oftentimes, it helps to meet with banks and credit unions before you launch a home search. These financial institutions can teach you about different home financing options so you can develop an effective property buying budget.
Banks and credit unions can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage as well. Once you have a mortgage in hand, you will know precisely how much you can spend to acquire your ideal residence.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
Let's face it – no one wants to encounter roadblocks during the homebuying journey. Fortunately, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these homebuying experts are happy to help you achieve your desired results.
A real estate agent can offer comprehensive insights into the homebuying journey. He or she also can help you conduct an in-depth home search, set up house showings and much more.
In addition, a real estate agent understands the challenges associated with buying a house. He or she will help you alleviate stress throughout the homebuying journey and ensure you can make informed decisions along the way. Plus, a real estate agent is ready to provide homebuying recommendations and suggestions at your request.
When it comes to navigating the homebuying journey, you may want to start planning today. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can map out a successful homebuying journey. And as a result, you can boost the likelihood of purchasing a house that will serve you well both now and in the future.