The Pros and Cons of Borrowing the Down Payment for Your Next Home

 

moneyWith the rising cost of real estate, many people feel that now is a good time to buy a home to ensure a good financial future. However, if you haven’t saved up enough money to make a down payment, it’s possible you may be considering whether or not you should borrow the funds. If you’re considering a loan from friends or family, here are some points you may want to think about before asking for a loan.

 

Getting Out Of The Rental Market

With even the rental market seeing huge increases in its rental rates, buying a home can be an even more beneficial purchase then ever. While your rental cheque is gone once you’ve paid it each month, payments on your mortgage will become a part of the wealth you’re building and the equity in your home. It’s just important to consider the property taxes and maintenance that go along with purchasing a home beforehand, as these added costs might end up making for a poor investment if they’re too costly.

 

Saving Money On Insurance

You may have heard many different things about the percentage your down payment should be, but because you will have to pay mortgage default insurance if you put less than 20% down, it can be an added boon to borrow the additional funds needed. While borrowing the money can be great in terms of lowering your monthly payment and making your home less costly in the end, it can also cause financial strain for you since you’ll have to pay back the funds over time.

 

Testing Your Relationships

It goes without saying that money can often times get between people, and when it comes to borrowing a significant sum of money from family or friends, this can improve your relationship or even cause a rift. While you may be willing to take this risk if you have no concerns about paying those who have lent you money back, if something arises and you’re unable to give back the funds, this can create issues that may be more problematic than renting a little longer.

Many people consider borrowing the money for their down payment in order to come up with the 20%, but it’s important to consider what borrowing this money can mean for your financial future and your personal relationships. If you’re currently looking into a new home, you may want to contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

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Selling Your Home? Here’s Why You’ll Want to Keep Your Emotions out of It

man-person-people-emotions-largeSelling your home can be an extremely emotional process, but it’s important that you don’t let your emotions get the best of you.  Learn which common mistakes emotional sellers make when selling their home so that you can identify them during your own sale and overcome them before it’s too late.

 

Price Paralysis

You love your home, you know the value it provides to its owner, and you think it’s special compared to other houses on the market… and that it should be priced as such!

Be wary of this thought pattern though, as sellers who are emotionally attached to their home tend to overprice their listing, ignore market data, and be stubborn in negotiations.

It is perfectly normal for your emotions to cloud your judgement when first listing, but it is important that you listen to your real estate agent’s advice and stick to reason, or you may find your home failing to close.

 

Pricing Based On Need

Your home has a market value, and you can’t ignore that.  It’s fact.

When moving to a new property, it is essential that you understand that you cannot price your current home based on the amount of money you need to purchase your desired next home.  This mindset is unrealistic, and can drag out your home sale.

If the purchase of a new home is contingent upon how much you make from selling your current home, be sure that you do not celebrate too early.  Wait until you have closed the deal before gauging what you can afford to buy next, or stick to a property that is definitely within your budget.

 

Maintain An Open Mind

While you may love the way your personal items and interior design pieces make your home feel, it is best to stage your home very impersonally for showings.  This may require re-painting rooms to more neutral tones, taking down your favorite family photos, and using professional staging furniture rather than your own.  Doing so isn’t admitting that you have bad taste, but rather accepting that buyers have a wide variety of taste themselves, and you want to appeal to them all.

You should also keep an open mind when it comes to who you sell your home to.  You may have an idea of what you consider to be the perfect buyer, but ultimately the goal is to sell your home.  What the buyer does with it after the fact is up to them.

To avoid these emotional home-seller mistakes, work with a trusted real estate professional who can guide you through the process and keep you on the right track.

Real Estate Investing: How to Find Great Deals on Undeveloped Lots with Big Potential

feildsPurchasing a plot of land can be one of the best investments to make. A landowner has great (but not unlimited) freedom in how to develop their plot, and land never expires so its potential is essentially infinite. That said, buying undeveloped or vacant land can be risky business, so read on to find tips on purchasing a plot.

 

Do Your Homework: Before You Get Onto The Land

Before anything else happens, figure out your priorities. Decide what you want the land for, what amenities and what location you want, what you’re looking for in terms of neighbors or local government, and, of course, know your budget. More specific questions will arise around taxes, fees and permits for building, available utilities/water access – but, first, just start with your ideal land plot and work backwards (and into reality) from there.

 

Do Your Due Diligence: On The Land Itself

Once you find a plot that fits your needs on paper, get out onto it. Walk the land with an eye on the topography (any unexpected hills or valleys? Is the ground solid/fertile/arable, depending on what you need?), neighboring properties, size and shape of the plot, and any other element that the walk brings to your senses (smell and hearing as well as sight). Ideally, do this walk in the fall, so there is no foliage hiding your view of the property and what’s around it.

 

Don’t Despair: It’s Costly, But There Are Deals Out There

Remember that developing the land will incur costs too. Budget for as many foreseeable costs as you can, including: a land survey, well/utility installation, legal fees, land-clearing, landscaping, road construction and others. That said there are places you can look at for deals on the initial land purchase, including property lots for sale (which are cheaper the farther they are from major cities, road access and already-connected utilities) or bank-owned plots. For those, you can talk to your real estate agent about asking local banks for lists of their foreclosed properties, which tend to be cheaper as banks look to sell them off.

 

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask: Reaching Out To Experts

Finally, talk to people. Ask locals about the neighborhood, previous uses of the land, potential surprises (like calm paths that turn into snowmobile trails in the winter). Connect with professionals in the local health department, zoning and building departments, accountancy and other areas of development for in-depth answers to your municipal questions.

But remember: while you will need to talk with many professionals in your due diligence, let your local real estate agent be your first point of contact.

Pocket the Profits: The Secrets to Selling Your Home above the Asking Price

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We all want to sell our homes at above asking price, but what is it that makes a seller succeed at this? Here’s our expert advice on how you can sell your home above the asking price.

 

Ask For Less

You may be surprised, but pricing your home lower than market value can have an extremely positive effect on the offers you receive.  This is because a low-priced listing will stand out and will draw more attention, which boosts your chance of a bidding war.

By attracting more buyers to come and look at your home, you will find more buyers who are willing to make an offer on your property.  When they view your home they will see its true market value, and are then more likely to make a higher offer in hopes of outbidding others.  It’s all about creating hype, and a low asking price will do just that.

 

Wait It Out

While it may be tempting to accept the first offer that comes along, it is usually better to wait and see what other offers come in.  If you accept the first offer on your property you have closed the door to competition, and competing offers are what spark bidding wars which, ultimately, are what will lead you to receive more than asking.

 

Consider Who You’re Selling To

Is your home better suited towards traditional buyers, or is it a valuable property for investors?  If your home could easily be renovated and flipped, has high potential as an income property, or is in an up-and-coming neighborhood, it may be better marketed as an incredible investment property.

Investors expect a return on the money that they spend so are often more willing to make a higher offer – they know those funds will come right back to them.

 

Rock Your Renos

There are several simple renovations that can add a huge amount of value to your home.  The return on investment for a few small upgrades is often very worthwhile when your goal is to receive more than asking price.

Make sure the flooring, kitchen, and bathrooms in your home are updated and appealing, and if not, consider upgrading these areas first.  If you’re targeting investors, adding an income suite to your property may be the best investment you can make.  Consider which kind of buyer you’re targeting and what areas of your home need the most TLC, and choose accordingly.

Speak with a trusted real estate agent today to learn more techniques to successfully sell your home for above the asking price.

Mortgage Myths: Here’s Why You Don’t Need a Full 20 Percent Down Payment

 

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If you’re just getting into the real estate market, you may have heard that 20% down is the ideal percentage in order to lower your monthly payments and get your mortgage application approved. However, while 20% is often suggested, many people struggle to come up with this amount of money. If you’re staving off home ownership because of your net worth, here are some reasons you may not need to hold off as you long as you thought.

 

Minimizing Your Insurance Costs

Putting down 20% of the total purchase price of your home is often suggested, but it doesn’t definitively mean that your application won’t be approved if you don’t. If you have a good credit score and are in good financial standing, putting less than 20% down means you’ll have to pay homeowner’s insurance; however, it can be worth paying the extra funds in order to get into the real estate market sooner and start paying into your most significant investment.

 

Mortgage Programs For Less Than 20%

It may seem less possible to buy a home if you only have 5 or 7% of the purchase price, but there are many programs in the United States that enable those with limited funds to apply for a mortgage. From the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, there are many lenders that can offer you mortgage programs that will work for your situation. While higher rates come in tandem with a lower down payment, there are options out there for those who haven’t saved quite enough.

 

Why Put Down 20%?

Putting down 20% is not a necessity for mortgage approval or purchasing a home, but it can be a great means of saving money in the long run and reducing your interest rates. If you’re raring to get into the real estate market and don’t want to wait for the bills to stack up, that’s OK, but if you want to hold off and save up additional funds before diving in, this can mean more money and a more solid investment in the future.

20% is often the magic number when it comes to a down payment on a home, but you don’t require this percentage of your home’s price in order to get approved for a mortgage. If you’re currently considering diving into home ownership and would like to know more about the opportunities in your area, you may want to contact a mortgage professionals for more information.

Let’s Talk Closets: How to Organize Your Closet Spaces Without Breaking the Bank

closet

There is a particular pleasure in a well-organized closet – not to mention the space and energy-saver that it becomes! And the best part is that you don’t need to spend tons of money to get a dapper closet space. A lot of the work is just thinking outside the (clothing) box.

 

Plan The Closet First

Before anything else, sit down and plan out your closet. Measure it so you know the exact dimensions (if you need to grab a rod or drawers, you’ll know what size fits). Clean out your closet (to get a better idea of its contents and space), then plan out what you want it to store. Having a clear idea of how you want to organize the space will prevent impulse purchases and conflicting organizational strategies.

 

Optimize The Contents

Your closet is essentially a functional space, so treat it that way. Think about what you want to have easy access to, and what can be rotated into storage. (Bulky winter coats, for example, can be stored elsewhere until winter rolls around). Once your closet is pared down, look for items that you can donate – think anything you haven’t worn in a year or more.

 

Optimize The Space

Even if you have a small closet, it can be a mighty space. Optimize what you have by using the walls and the door for hanging storage, and by stacking items. Wire shelving is cheap and easy to install, and is great for seeing at a glance what’s there. A movable closet rod (for hangers) can be pushed up for more storage, and pulled down for easy access. And what about the double-hanger trick – hooking one item’s hanger off another? This way you can pair items that go together to save time and save space. Or use shower rings on hangers to store scarves – multiple scarves looped on one hanger – and hang baskets under shelves to maximize space.

 

Organize The Space

Experts say that organizing items by color is not the most efficient method – instead, group items by activity or function. Pants are with pants, dresses with dresses. Use labels to make access and maintenance easy. Put the most frequently used items in the center and at eye-level, and make sure drawers are slightly below eye-level for the easiest perusal. Finally, think creatively: use hanging shoe bags for other items, hang jewelry off spruced-up paint stir sticks, store entire sheet sets in their pillowcases.

If you have questions or need input, contact your local real estate agent. After all, they have closets of their own. Who knows what organizing expertise they can share?

 

 

 

Investing in a Vacation Property? Learn What You’ll Need to Have to Get A Mortgage Approved

vacation-mountain-home

With approximately one million people having purchased vacation homes in the last year, this type of residence is gaining popularity for those who are interested in a home in a beach setting or a vacation hot spot. However, while a second home can seem like a great purchase and solid investment opportunity, there are different requirements that go into this type of purchase. If you’re considering a vacation home, you may want to be aware of the following financial factors.

 

The Down Payment Amount

If you currently have a primary residence, you may be aware that you don’t need to put down 20% or even 10% in order to make a home purchase, but things are different when it comes to a vacation home. Because you will be taking on an additional mortgage, there is greater risk involved, and this means you will likely have to put in at least 10 percent. Because of this, many homebuyers utilize the equity they have in their first home to make up the down payment.

 

About The Credit Score

Most people that have a credit score of more than 500 have the ability to use a mortgage product and purchase a home, but if you’re buying a second property, you’ll need a higher credit score in order to facilitate the purchase. Because there is more risk involved, lenders will want to make sure you’re a good bet. In addition, if you do have a lower credit score, lenders like Fannie Mae may also expect you to put more down to decrease the risk involved for them.

 

The Income Required

Since you’ve been through the mortgage process for your first home, you’re probably aware that you debt-to-income (DTI) ratio needs to be a certain amount in order to qualify for a mortgage. While your DTI for a primary residence may be a little bit higher since it’s your only payment, this ratio will be lower for your vacation home since it’s higher risk. This means you’ll require a slightly higher income than for your primary residence in order to get approved.

Deciding to purchase a vacation home can be a very exciting concept for many people, but there are a number of different financial requirements that go along with buying another residence. If you’re on the market for a vacation property and are curious about what’s involved, you may want to contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

Foundation Problems? Here’s What to Do If You’re Worried About Your Home’s Foundation

concrete-blockLike in a relationship, the foundation of a house is integral, and must be strong. There are many reasons why a house’s foundation might crack or shift – including temperature variances in the soil surrounding it, since earth expands in heat and contracts in cold. But whatever the reason, there are certain steps to follow when addressing concerns about your house’s foundation.

 

Prevent The Problem, If Possible

First, whenever possible act to prevent problems before they arise. Make it a habit to check for foundational stress by taking a walk through your basement and around the outside of your home. Signs of a problem include cracks in the foundation itself (particularly horizontal ones larger than a hairline), uneven or sloping floors, doors or windows that won’t open or close properly anymore, and water damage (puddles or moisture in the wood) that signals improper drainage.

Confirm The Problem, If There’s Time

If you find a crack that has you worried, but isn’t an insurmountable gap, take the time to coat it with concrete waterproofing paint. Then keep an eye on it. If the crack reappears after the paint has dried, it means the gap that produced the crack is growing and should be addressed. If you suspect water drainage problems, try shutting down all water-using appliances in your home. Then watch the water meter for 6 to 12 hours. If the levels change in that time, your water is finding another way out of the house. Finally, if you suspect a sloping floor, rest a tennis ball on it and look for rolling.

 

Fix The Problem, If It’s Small

Sometimes DIY methods can be used to address small issues, like little cracks (ones not in the foundation itself, but in walls or floors). Fill them with a vinyl concrete patch, or a similar product. Be sure the material you use is flexible and can move a little, because the concrete will – it slightly expands and contracts to keep stable.

Call For Reinforcements!

That said, the absolute best method of dealing with foundation problems is to call in reinforcements, because even successful DIY fixes are temporary. And because, even though it will cost a little more, the money is worth it to prevent your house from collapsing! Reach out to a foundational specialist or a structural engineer if there are any signs that have you worried about a shifting or crumbling foundation.

 

If you have more in-depth questions, or want advice on a foundational specialist, talk to your trusted local real estate agent.

Financing That Dream Home with a Mortgage? Here’s What to Expect on Closing Day

Keys to your own homeThere are so many details that lead up to the purchase of your dream home that it can be hard to realize it when the closing day is finally upon you. However, when closing day finally arrives, there will still be a few last minute details that need to be taken care of. If you’re getting ready to solidify your home purchase and are wondering about the remaining paperwork and any unknown details, here are some things you can expect when it comes to making your purchase complete.

 

One Last Walk Through

A home inspection is an important part of any home purchase, but buyers often have the option to go for one final walk through on closing day in order to determine if any additional damage has been done. This will help to ensure that if any additional issues have appeared, they can be discussed and taken care of by the seller. While it might seem like the home inspection should take care of things, a last walk through can be very important in ensuring you don’t get stuck with unwanted – and potentially expensive – repairs.

 

A Few Helping Hands

Most of the details will be taken care of by the time closing day comes, but that doesn’t mean it will be up to the lawyers to settle everything for you and the seller. Instead, you can expect a wide cast of involved parties that can range from the seller’s agent to the title company representative to the closing agent, in addition to the homeowner and yourself. It’s just important to be aware that which parties are involved will be dependent upon where you live.

 

A Bevy of Documents

Purchasing a home is not without an abundance of paperwork, but there will be a few more documents to deal with during your closing meeting. In addition to documents that outline the agreement and the property transfer, there will be others like the deed of trust, the settlement statement and the mortgage note that verifies that the buyer will pay back the mortgage loan.

There are many stressors that come along with the purchase of your home, but by taking all the documents you need and being prepared to deal with all the engaged parties, the day can go a lot more smoothly. If you’re currently looking into a mortgage and are on the market for a home, you may want to contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.