Eleanor Osborn's Blog
Ready to buy a house? It pays to be proactive, especially if you hope to streamline the process of acquiring a terrific residence at a budget-friendly price.
A superb house is likely to stir up interest from large groups of homebuyers. Fortunately, with a proactive approach, you can stay ahead of the homebuying competition and boost your chances of securing a wonderful house.
Ultimately, there are several best practices for proactive homebuyers, and these practices include:
1. Search for Homes Early and Often
The early bird catches the wom. Much in the same vein, a proactive homebuyer is better equipped than others to achieve his or her desired results.
Keep a close eye on the housing market – you'll be glad you did. If you monitor home listings in your city or town, you can quickly identify potential properties that you may want to buy.
In addition, evaluate housing market trends and patterns. With this housing market data in hand, you can differentiate between a buyer's and seller's market.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Meet with several banks and lenders in your area. By doing so, you can explore a variety of mortgage options and select one that complements your finances.
There is no shortage of mortgage options at your disposal. For example, many homebuyers prefer a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, which guarantees they will pay the same amount each month for the life of a mortgage. On the other hand, some homebuyers choose a 15-year adjustable-rate mortgage, which features lower upfront payments that gradually increase over time.
If you're uncertain about which mortgage option to select, there is no need to worry. Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage professionals who can help you make an informed decision.
Perhaps best of all, meeting with mortgage professionals guarantees you can receive expert responses to your concerns and questions. These mortgage professionals will devote the necessary time and resources to assist you and make it simple for you to select a great mortgage.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
If you want to enter the housing market, there is no reason to wait. In fact, if you contact a real estate agent today, you can immediately launch a successful homebuying journey.
A real estate agent is dedicated to your homebuying success. He or she first will learn about your homebuying goals, ensuring you can start the homebuying journey on the right foot. Then, this housing market professional can help you narrow your search for your dream residence.
In most instances, a real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new residences as they become available and help you submit home offers. This housing market professional also provides a one-of-a-kind homebuying resource. And if you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them.
Don't wait to kick off a homebuying journey. Instead, use the aforementioned tips, and you can become a proactive homebuyer.
Homeowners associations are common features of new residential subdivisions, condominiums and townhouse developments, planned communities, and vacation resorts throughout the United States and abroad. Typically established by the builder or developer, such associations are most often responsible for maintenance of common facilities. They also frequently oversee the operation of community centers, pools, golf courses and sports courts, and can assume responsibility for routine repair of streets and/or sidewalks, building exteriors and roofs, and even front yard landscaping and upkeep.
Residents pay a monthly fee to the association, in addition to mortgage, taxes, insurance and utilities on their individual properties. Most commonly, the day-to-day operation of a homeowners association will be managed by an independent firm, with oversight from a governing board of homeowners elected to serve, unpaid, for specific terms.
Pay Attention to the CC&Rs
Buying a home in a community with an HOA requires that residents agree to the covenants, conditions and restrictions, known as the CC&Rs. Rules can be relatively simple, outlining the types of fencing allowed or specifying allowable trim colors and landscaping plants. Some HOAs, however, have stringent restrictions, governing varied aspects of community living. Some actively promote community programming while others simply act as a review board to handle disputes or non-compliance with stipulated regulations.
Withholding payment of association dues can lead to legal action, sometimes even foreclosure.
HOAs Uphold Community Standards
Prior to buying property in a subdivision with an HOA, a buyer should be completely familiar with the CC&Rs and understand the financial commitment entailed. All HOAs are committed to uphold community standards and protect property values. That is perhaps the best reason for buying property in an area that has a well-managed, effective and highly-functioning HOA. But it is always up to the buyer to determine the effectiveness of any HOA. The best way is to ask to view previous years' financial statements, and to talk to current owners.
The best homeowners associations foster a heightened sense of community, encouraging social events and offering services to promote safety and security for residents. Neighborhood watch programs, community patrols and emergency response, rideshare programs, and youth-oriented activities are common. In addition, well-run associations have financial reserves to handles unexpected maintenance or repair needs and have a "comfortable" relationship with homeowners.
HOAs were first established to govern the operation of condominium associations, and have sometimes received a bad rap from owners who found them restrictive and expensive. The role of the HOA has changed over the decades, and most are professional and dedicated to the welfare of current and future homeowners. They actively promote and encourage neighborliness, cohesive community spirit and property values.
Belonging to a homeowners association fosters a valuable common bond with other owners, and offers homeowners a real voice in the community.
The last step of any home sale is the closing. This is the time when the buyer and seller sign all the documents surrounding the sale, including the documents for the buyer’s mortgage. This is when money changes hands and, in most cases, the buyer gets the keys to the home. If you’ve never attended a closing before, or it’s been a while, here’s what you can expect.
Before the Closing
Before the closing takes place, the buyer and seller will meet at the property for a final walkthrough. This gives the buyer the chance to inspect the home to make sure nothing changed in its condition between the inspection and the closing date. Buyers will look for damage to the property or items that aren’t working properly.
Who Attends the Closing
The closing is the next step. Both the buyer and seller with their respective real estate agents will be there. If anyone used a real estate attorney, that attorney will attend. A closing agent will conduct the meeting, and the lender may send a representative. Finally, someone from the title company will be in attendance.
Presenting & Signing the Documents
The main task that takes place at closing is the signing of documents. The buyers will go through about 50 to 100 pages of documents, many of which require a signature. Many of the documents are related to the buyer’s mortgage. The buyer will need to show proof of insurance, pay the closing costs, which are typically 2 to 5 percent of the home’s value, and fund the escrow, unless the seller offered to cover closing costs. Some of the documents relating to the mortgage that the buyer will need to sign include:
Final loan application
Loan estimate and closing disclosure
In addition to the mortgage documents, both the seller and buyer will need to sign several things, including:
The property’s deed
Bill of sale
Transfer tax declarations
At this point, any necessary payments are made, and the closing agent will write checks for the real estate agents' commissions. As long as there are no delays for funding, the keys change hands and the buyer becomes the home’s new owner.
Potential Problems at Closing
Most closings happen without any issues, but there are some problems that can arise on that day. It’s on the closing day that the final approval of the mortgage takes place. If the lender finds something surprising, like a change in employment or credit history, they could deny the loan. Also, title problems can pop up at closing that went undetected during negotiations. Finally, problems found during the final walkthrough could lead to delays at closing.
Being well prepared for closing can help both buyers and sellers avoid these types of problems. With the right knowledge ahead of time, you can walk into closing confidently, knowing your real estate transaction will be completed in just a few hours.
As a homebuyer, it is paramount to establish realistic expectations for the homebuying journey. That way, you can take a step-by-step approach to achieve various goals along this journey and acquire your ideal residence faster than ever before.
Setting realistic homebuying expectations can be simple. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you set realistic homebuying expectations.
1. Assess Your Home Must-Haves and Wants
Dozens of homes are available in cities and towns nationwide. If you establish realistic homebuying expectations, you may be better equipped than others to determine exactly what you want to find in your dream house. As a result, you could reap the benefits of a quick, seamless homebuying experience.
Oftentimes, it helps to create a list of home must-haves and wants prior to searching for a house. This list can be updated as you proceed along the homebuying journey and will serve as a guide to help you discover your ideal residence.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
With a mortgage in hand, you can narrow your home search to residences that fall within your price range. Then, you can speed up the homebuying journey and find your ideal residence in no time at all.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you'll want to meet with banks and credit unions. These financial institutions generally offer a broad array of mortgage options. Examine all of your mortgage options closely, and you're sure to find a mortgage that matches your finances.
Also, don't hesitate to ask mortgage questions when you meet with potential lenders. Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who are happy to help you in any way they can. Thus, you can gain expert insights from these mortgage specialists that could help you make an informed mortgage decision.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent understands what it takes to purchase a home in any housing market. Therefore, he or she can help you prepare for the real estate market and establish realistic homebuying expectations from day one.
Typically, a real estate agent first will learn about your homebuying goals. He or she then will help you map out a successful homebuying journey, one that concludes with you discovering your dream house at a budget-friendly price.
A real estate agent offers plenty of support at each stage of the homebuying journey too. This housing market professional will set up home showings, keep you updated about new residences that become available and help you evaluate houses. And if you want to submit an offer on a home, a real estate agent will make it easy for you to put together a competitive homebuying proposal.
Achieving the optimal results during the homebuying journey sometimes can be difficult. But if you establish realistic homebuying expectations, you may be able to streamline the homebuying journey and ensure that you can purchase a great house that suits you perfectly.
A seamless home search may be a dream come true for property buyers. Yet for those who want to accelerate the homebuying journey, problems sometimes may arise that make it tough to streamline a home search. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to speed up a home search and find your dream house without delay.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you expedite the homebuying journey.
1. Establish Realistic Homebuying Expectations
You know you want to buy a house, but you still have no idea what you want to find in a dream home. If you establish realistic homebuying expectations, however, you could simplify your house search.
Think about what you want in your dream house, as well as where you want to reside. Then, you can search for houses that have the features you want and are located in your preferred cities and towns.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
A mortgage generally is a must-have for a homebuyer. If you enter the real estate market with a mortgage at your disposal, you'll know exactly how much you can spend to acquire your dream residence. As a result, you can search for homes that fall in line with your budget.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach you everything you need to know about different types of mortgages and help you find the right mortgage based on your individual needs.
Of course, as you search for the right mortgage, don't hesitate to ask questions. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, knowledgeable mortgage specialists, all of whom are happy to assist you in any way possible.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent goes above and beyond the call of duty to support a homebuyer. He or she understands the ins and outs of buying a home, and as such, will do what it takes to help you discover a great house at an affordable price.
Typically, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your homebuying goals. He or she next will craft a homebuying strategy for you and put this plan into action. A real estate agent then will help you conduct an in-depth house search. And once you find a home you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer to purchase this residence.
A real estate agent also works diligently to help you achieve the best-possible results at each stage of the property buying journey. He or she is ready to respond to your homebuying concerns and queries and ensure you can make informed decisions throughout your quest for your dream house.
Want to expedite your home search? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can quickly and effortlessly find a home that suits you perfectly.