Eleanor Osborn's Blog
An ambitious homebuyer goes above and beyond the call of duty to find a great residence at an affordable price. As such, this individual is better equipped than others to streamline the homebuying journey.
Anyone can become an ambitious homebuyer. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you seamlessly discover your dream residence.
1. Create Homebuying Criteria
Buying a home can be simple, particularly for those who establish property buying criteria. If you enter the real estate market with homebuying criteria in hand, you can hone your search to residences that match your expectations. Then, if you find a house you want to buy, you can move quickly to acquire this residence.
As you craft homebuying criteria, it often helps to evaluate your short- and long-term aspirations. For example, if you strive to live close to the beach, you may want to pursue residences near top beaches in various cities and towns. On the other hand, if you require a house that includes a central air conditioning system, you can search for residences that boast this feature.
2. Develop a Budget
A homebuying budget is essential, as it will help you search for houses that fall within your price range. Perhaps most important, a budget limits the risk that you will be tempted to spend beyond your means to purchase your ideal house.
Generally, it helps to meet with banks and credit unions before you launch a home search. These financial institutions can teach you about a variety of mortgage options and help you make an informed mortgage selection. Best of all, banks and credit unions can respond to any of your mortgage concerns or questions, at any time.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
If you want to speed up your home search, you may want to hire a real estate agent. Because if you have a real estate agent at your side, you can get the help you need to discover a terrific home that can serve you well for years to come.
A real estate agent understands the importance of conducting a comprehensive home search. Thus, he or she will do whatever it takes to help you find a home that suits you perfectly. From setting up home showings to helping you craft a competitive offer to purchase, a real estate agent is prepared to assist you in any way possible.
Furthermore, a real estate agent will offer plenty of guidance as you get ready to close on a home. The weeks and days leading up to a home closing can be worrisome, but a real estate agent will provide tips to alleviate stress. As a result, a real estate agent will help you enjoy a stress-free homebuying experience.
Want to navigate the homebuying journey like an expert? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can become an ambitious homebuyer and find and purchase your dream house in no time at all.
We all know that buying a home is expensive. For first-time buyers who don’t have the luxury of equity for a down payment, it can be difficult to find a way to finance your home without taking on a huge interest rate and mortgage insurance.
Fortunately, loan programs like those offered by the U.S. Veterans Affairs can be a godsend. However, there is a great deal of confusion around who is eligible for VA loans and how to acquire them.
So, in today’s post, we’re going to cover some of the frequently asked questions of VA loans. That way, you can feel confident in knowing whether or not it’s a good financing option for you and your family.
VA Loans FAQ
Who is eligible for a VA Loan?
VA loans aren’t just for veterans. Most members of the military, including Reserve and National Guard members can apply. Additionally, spouses of service members who died from a service-related disability and those who died on active duty can apply as well.
How long do you have to service to be eligible?
The VA defines eligibility as having served no less than 90 days of service during wartime and 181 days of continuous service during peacetime.
Who are VA Loans offered by?
Like any other loan, VA loans are offered by private lenders. The difference is that VA loans are guaranteed by the government. That means that the federal government takes on some of the risk of lending to you, therefore making it possible to secure a loan with little or no down payment.
Should I make a down payment on a VA loan?
If you have the means, making a down payment will almost certainly save you money in the long run. If you can put down 10% of your total mortgage amount, you can also significantly reduce the VA Funding Fee.
Will I have to pay private mortgage insurance?
Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is something that borrowers pay on top of their mortgage payments and interest. This additional insurance helps borrowers buy a home with a small down payment. VA loans allow you to secure a mortgage without PMI.
Are VA loans different for active duty, National Guard, and Army Reserve members?
Each type of service member is eligible for a VA loan. However, there are some minor differences regarding the VA Funding Fee. With no down payment, an active duty member would pay 2.15% of the loan amount in fees. National Guard and Army Reserve members pay around 2.40% with no down payment.
What does my credit score need to be to get a VA loan?
The VA doesn’t have a set minimum credit score. However, the private lenders that offer the loan do. On average, the lowest credit score that you can secure a VA loan with is around 620. That being said, a higher score will secure you a lower interest rate, saving you money over the lifetime of your loan.
The location of the homes you’re looking at in your search is key. You probably have at least a couple of cities and towns narrowed down, but do you know specifics? Is there a particular neighborhood that you would prefer to live in? The street that you choose to live on will also have a lot to do with the way that you conduct your life. If you live on the main road, for example, you’ll face a lot of noise and traffic. If you have kids, that may not be the ideal situation. There’s many reasons that living on a dead end street is the ideal situation. Be on the lookout for homes on cul-de-sacs and dead end streets in your home search. Read on to see the many advantages of living on a street that’s not a throughway.
The Traffic Is Significantly Less
There are very few cars that head down a street that’s not a throughway. No one will be using your street as a shortcut. This makes it much safer for children to play outside and it reduces noise in the neighborhood.
There’s A Sense Of Security
Since there isn’t a lot of traffic on a dead-end street, it‘s easy to identify strange cars that are lurking around. The people in your neighborhood will all be more alert to any kind of unusual activity on the street. This allows for a more secure feeling in your own backyard.
A Dead End Street Is A Great Place To Raise Kids
Your kids will have a bit more freedom to play and be kids when you live on a dead end street. There’s less traffic to worry about while the kids play, yet you have a great opportunity to teach your kids about traffic safety rules and how to act around strangers. Your children will also become close with other children in the neighborhood. The adults who live in your neighborhood will become acquainted with your children as well. You’ll definitely appreciate a tight-knit community if you have kids.
Your Property Value Will Stay High
It’s hard to say that a home on a dead end street will decrease in value. With a strong community sense and safety perks, these homes will be in demand. When you do decide to sell your home, you’re sure to get a good return on your property investment if you choose a home on a dead end street.
Ready to enter the real estate market for the first time? As a first-time homebuyer, you may encounter many challenges as you kick off your search for the perfect house. However, property buyers who understand these challenges will be better equipped than others to overcome such difficulties quickly and effortlessly.
Now, let's take a look at three common challenges that first-time homebuyers may face:
1. You don't know what to look for in a house.
You know you want to own a house, but how do you define your "dream" residence? Ultimately, you'll want to consider what you'd like to find in your perfect house so you can map out your real estate search accordingly.
Creating a checklist of things you'd like to have in your dream home usually represents a great starting point for first-time homebuyers. This checklist should include both "must-haves" and "wants" and can help you narrow your search for the ideal residence.
2. You aren't sure how much money you have available to purchase a home.
How much can you spend to acquire a residence? Without a budget, you may struggle to begin your real estate search.
Lucky for you, many banks and credit unions make it simple to get pre-approved for a mortgage.
Set up meetings with a few lenders in your city or town – you'll be glad you did. These lenders can help you assess your current financial situation, outline all of your mortgage options and ensure you can gain pre-approval for a mortgage.
With a mortgage in hand, you may be better equipped than other homebuyers to secure your ideal residence. This mortgage will help you determine exactly how much you can spend on a home. Plus, getting pre-approved for a mortgage can help you avoid the temptation to spend beyond your financial means to acquire your dream house.
3. You don't know what it takes to go from homebuyer to homeowner.
The homebuying process can be long and complicated, especially if you have no idea about what to expect from it. Fortunately, real estate agents are available to help you take the guesswork out of going from homebuyer to homeowner.
A real estate agent is a housing market professional who is happy to share his or her insights with you. He or she will respond to your homebuying concerns and queries and teach you about all stages of the homebuying cycle.
Furthermore, a real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new houses as they become available and negotiate with property sellers on your behalf. This housing market professional will even go above and beyond the call of duty to guarantee you can purchase a home that you'll be able to enjoy for years to come.
When it comes to buying a home for the first time, there is no need to navigate the homebuying journey alone. Instead, collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can accelerate the process of acquiring a top-notch house at a budget-friendly price.
Buying a new home can be an exciting but anxiety-inducing experience. With so many things to consider, it can be difficult to keep track of the things that matter most to you.
This process is complicated further when you discover a second or third home that you like as much as the first and you’re trying to decide which one to make an offer on.
In today’s post, we’re going to talk about how you can effectively compare houses to ensure that you’re making the most sensible, long-term decision for you and your family.
It’s all about the spreadsheet
Today, our method isn’t going to rely on any fancy new apps or paid tools. Everything you need to accomplish your spreadsheet is a tool like Google Sheets (it’s like a free version of Excel) or a simple pencil and notebook.
The columns of your spreadsheet will be made up of the factors that will influence your decision. This will include the obvious details like the cost and square footage of the home, but also finer details like its proximity to key places in your life.
The rows of your spreadsheet will be the properties you’re comparing. Now, it may be tempting to start listing every house on your radar in the columns of your spreadsheet. However, I think it’s more time-effective to only include the homes that you’re likely to make an offer on. This means doing some hard thinking and having a conversation with your family about your realistic goals for buying a home.
What is most important to you in a home and neighborhood?
Let’s turn our attention back to the top row of your spreadsheet. We want to fill that section with around 10 factors that are most important to you in a home and the location the home will be in.
In this section, you can include the estimated cost of the home and the estimated monthly expenses for owning that home (utilities, taxes, etc.).
Here’s the secret weapon of our spreadsheet, however. Rather than listing the actual cost of the home in this row, we’re going to give it a rank of 1 to 5. A score of 1 means the house is a lot more expensive than you want. A score of 5 means the house is the ideal cost. A 3 would be somewhere in the middle.
We’re going to use this 1 to 5 ranking system for all other factors on our spreadsheet as well.
Next to these costs, you’ll want to add other important factors to your home buying decision. Does it have the number of rooms you’re looking for? If a backyard is important to you, does it provide for that need?
In terms of upgrades, how much work will you have to do on the home to make it something you’re satisfied with? For DIY-minded people with time to spare, home improvement might be a welcome concept. For others, it simply would take too much time to accomplish everything you want. So, when you fill out the “Upgrades” column of your spreadsheet, make sure you determine a system for ranking the homes that suits your needs.
House location shouldn’t be overlooked
It’s a sad truth, but in today’s busy world, the average homeowner spends most of their time away from home, whether they’re at work, commuting, or bring their kids to and from after school activities.
You’ll want at least one column on your spreadsheet to be devoted to location. When ranking the location of a home, consider things like commuting time, distance to schools, hospitals, parks, and grocery stores. All of these things will have a larger impact on your day-to-day life than small details of the house itself.
Ranking the homes
Now that you have the first row and column of your spreadsheet built, it’s time to fill in the details and tally up the totals. These numbers will help inform your decision as to which house is really right for you.