BOB UPTON, Realtor®, CBR's Blog
For those who want to enjoy a quick, seamless homebuying experience, it helps to prepare as much as possible. In fact, those who plan ahead may be better equipped than others to avoid various challenges throughout the homebuying cycle.
From struggling to obtain home financing after a seller accepts your offer to purchase to struggling to find the right home in one of your preferred cities and towns, myriad issues may make it tough for you to achieve your desired results on the homebuying journey. Fortunately, we're here to help you minimize risk as you pursue your dream residence.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you avoid a homebuying fiasco.
1. Establish Homebuying Criteria
If you enter the housing market with criteria in hand, you can narrow your house search. As a result, you may be able to accelerate your journey from homebuyer to homeowner.
Think about where you want to live. Then, you can hone your home search and focus exclusively on houses in specific cities and towns.
It also may be beneficial to establish a list of home must-haves and wants. This list can help you determine exactly what you want to find in your dream house so you can map out your home search accordingly.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
There is no need to wait to get a mortgage. Thankfully, lenders are available that can help you get approved for a mortgage before you kick off your home search.
Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions – you'll be glad you did. This will allow you to learn about the ins and outs of different mortgage options.
Furthermore, don't hesitate to ask questions about all of the mortgage options at your disposal. Because if you understand exactly how a mortgage works, you can make an informed mortgage decision.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to avoiding problems during the homebuying journey, it generally is a good idea to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional will offer comprehensive support at each stage of the homebuying journey. By doing so, a real estate agent will ensure you can quickly and effortlessly navigate the housing market.
For example, if you want to find a house in a small town, a real estate agent will help you explore residences that match your expectations. He or she will set up home showings and keep you informed about open house events. Plus, if you identify your dream house, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to purchase.
Let's not forget about the housing market expertise that a real estate agent possesses, either. If you ever have concerns or questions as you pursue your dream house, a real estate agent is happy to address them at any time.
Want to discover your dream residence? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can reduce the risk of encountering problems as you search for your ideal residence.
Finding the right vacation house is rarely simple. Dozens of quality vacation residences are available in cities and towns nationwide. Yet if you make even a single mistake during your search for the ideal vacation residence, you risk making a poor property buying decision.
As you get set to begin a search for a vacation home, there are many things you can do to boost the likelihood of finding a residence that matches your needs. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you conduct a comprehensive – and successful – vacation home search:
1. Establish Homebuying Criteria
Prior to launching a search for a vacation house, consider the features you want in your dream residence. Then you can hone your search for vacation homes that fall in line with your expectations.
Crafting a list of vacation home must-haves usually is a good idea. This list can focus on distinct features you want to find inside your home – from a modern, state-of-the-art kitchen to a spacious master bedroom. It also can focus on home exterior features like a beautiful front yard or a large driveway.
2. Determine Your Preferred Cities and Towns
Once you know what you want to find in your ideal vacation residence, make a list of preferred cities and towns. With this list in hand, you can focus exclusively on vacation houses in cities and towns you know you will enjoy.
Before you craft a list of preferred cities and towns for your vacation home search, it is important to remember that house prices vary nationwide. Thus, it often helps to take a look at home prices in various cities and towns. This will give you an idea about the average price range for houses in different areas.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
If you want to streamline your search for a vacation home, it typically helps to hire a real estate agent. Because if you have a real estate agent at your side, you can receive extensive support as you navigate each stage of the vacation homebuying journey.
A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who is happy to share his or her housing market knowledge with you. First, he or she will learn about you and your vacation homebuying goals. A real estate agent next will craft a custom strategy designed to help you achieve your homebuying goals as quickly as possible. Finally, you and your real estate agent can put this plan into action.
Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent provides when a homebuyer is ready to submit an offer to purchase a vacation house, either. At this point, a real estate agent will help a homebuyer put together a competitive homebuying proposal. And if a seller accepts this offer to purchase, a real estate agent then will guide the buyer through the final stages of the homebuying journey.
Take the necessary steps to find your dream vacation home – use the aforementioned tips, and you could accelerate your quest to discover a vacation residence that suits you perfectly.
When you purchase real estate, you must put down a good faith deposit. Several factors determine how much you will need to put down, but it could be as little as $100. In order to have a valid contract, the contract must have “consideration,” or something of value exchanged for the contract. The good faith money also shows a seller that you are serious about purchasing the property.
Who Holds the Good Faith Money?
You usually give the good faith money to your real estate agent. The agent puts the money into an escrow account. If you are buying a newly built home, you might give the good faith money to the builder. However, if you are working with a real estate agent to buy a newly built home, in most cases, it’s better to give the deposit to the real estate agent.
Is Good Faith Money Refundable?
In most cases, your good faith money is not refundable. This ensures that you are serious about buying the property and not just “tire kicking.” However, a real estate purchase contract has several exceptions. In addition to the exceptions that might be in the contract, you can add your own as long as the seller agrees. The most common exceptions are your ability to get financing and that the seller did not misrepresent the condition of the home. As long as you can meet an exception, your money is refundable.
How Much Is a Good Faith Deposit?
Most sellers like to see at least $1,000 down. However, a seller might require a percentage of the selling price. Whichever amount the seller wants, it must be stated in the purchase agreement. If you want to change the amount of the good faith money, the seller has to agree to it or you won’t have a contract.
What Happens to My Good Faith Deposit?
Once you close, the real estate agent forwards the money to the seller as part of your down payment. The amount is shown on your closing documents and is subtracted from the final agreed-upon selling price of the home. For example, you buy a house that is $250,000 and you put down $5,000 as good faith money. Your lender requires 20 percent down, so you give the lender $50,000 at closing. Your documents will show that you paid a total of $55,000, so your loan will be $195,000 plus closing costs.
The closing costs could be subtracted from your down payment, the good faith deposit or added back into the loan, depending on what you and your lender agree to. Regardless, the amount of your down payment is $55,000, even if some of it is used for closing costs.
If you have any questions about how your real estate agent handles your good faith deposit, be sure to ask. You should always ask about exceptions to ensure you can get your money back if the loan does not go through or if the house was misrepresented by the seller and/or their agent.
If you want to enjoy a seamless homebuying experience, it generally is a good idea to establish a property buying plan. That way, you can take a step-by-step approach to make your homeownership dream come true.
As you prepare a homebuying strategy, there are several factors to consider. These factors include:
1. Your Dream Home Definition
There is no one-size-fits-all definition of a dream home. Instead, this definition varies from buyer to buyer. But if you define your ideal residence, you can narrow your house search accordingly.
Think about the features you require from a home. For instance, if you want a house that offers multiple bedrooms, you can search for residences that provide you with the space you need. On the other hand, if you want a home that boasts a deluxe swimming pool, you can search for a residence that offers this feature.
Consider where you want to reside, too. By doing so, you can search for homes in a select group of cities and towns.
2. Your Homebuying Budget
You likely have only a finite amount of money that you can spend on a residence. Thankfully, if you establish a homebuying budget, you can search for houses that fall within your price range.
Oftentimes, it helps to meet with banks and credit unions before you start a house search. These financial institutions can teach you about a broad array of home financing options.
Don't hesitate to discuss your home financing options with a variety of banks and credit unions, either. If you check out myriad home financing options, you can select a mortgage that complements your finances perfectly.
3. Your Homebuying Timeline
You may want to create a timeline for buying a house. With this timeline in place, you will know precisely how many days, weeks or months you have to find and acquire your dream residence.
If possible, you should maintain a flexible homebuying timeline. There is no telling when problems may arise as you search for your dream house. And if your homebuying timeline is flexible, you can adjust it at any time.
For those who want to streamline the homebuying journey, you may want to employ a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional will go above and beyond the call of duty to help you find a great home at a budget-friendly price. Plus, he or she can offer expert guidance as you craft a property buying strategy.
Also, as you navigate the homebuying journey, a real estate agent will respond to any concerns or questions. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is happy to provide homebuying tips and recommendations that you may struggle to receive elsewhere.
Ready to transform your homebuying vision into a reality? Craft a homebuying strategy today – you will be glad you did. Once you have a homebuying plan at your disposal, you can navigate the property buying journey with poise and confidence.
Your credit score is a fundamental component of a mortgage lender’s decision to approve you for a loan. It can also affect the interest rate and loan amount you can secure.
Along with your income history and down payment, a solid credit score is one of the three most important things you’ll need when it comes to buying a home.
Credit scores themselves, however, can be a complicated business. And finding out what score you need to buy a home and how to achieve that score can also be a complex topic.
So, in this post we’re going to break down some credit score basics as they relate to buying a home.
Types of credit scores
You may have heard of the three main credit bureaus, TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Each of these bureaus keeps a detailed credit history for everyone in America (except for those who have yet to open a line of credit or take out a loan).
Since each credit bureau may have slightly different information available data to draw from, your credit scores from each company may vary.
However, when it comes to buying a home, most lenders use a standard scoring model called a FICO score to ensure that all mortgage applicants are treated fairly when they seek a loan.
Things are further complicated by the fact that there are several different FICO scoring models designed for different types of credit. So, if you’ve seen your FICO score when applying for an auto loan, it may be a different score than you will see when applying for a mortgage.
Build credit; raise your credit score
All of the types of credit scores and scoring models can be confusing. But what you mostly need to worry about is how to boost your score.
Your credit score will be based on five main factors:
Making on-time payments
The percentage of available credit (not maxing out your cards)
Having diverse types of credit (auto loans, student loans, credit cards, etc.)
Not opening new lines of credit frequently (a red flag that you’re struggling financially)
The length of your credit history, or how long you’ve been consistently paying your bills
What score do you need to buy a home?
There are several different mortgage types available for buyers. First-time homeowners, veterans, people seeking to buy a home in a rural area, and any other number of circumstances can help you qualify for mortgages even if you have a low credit score.
A general rule, however, is that it’s always better to apply for a mortgage with a high credit score to help you secure the best possible interest rate.
Some programs do have minimum credit scores that they will accept for a mortgage. FHA loans are one common example. The Federal Housing Authority guarantees loans for people across the country who are hoping to buy their first home (or who haven’t owned a home in the last three years). Their guarantee is what enables lenders to safely approve mortgages for borrowers with low credit scores. The current requirement for an FHA loan is a credit score of 580 or higher for a mortgage with a 3.5% down payment. You can secure an FHA loan with a lower credit score, but you’ll have to make a larger down payment.
There are several other options available for hopeful homeowners when it comes to mortgages. But, if you aren’t planning on moving in the next few months and your credit score could use some work, now is the time to start focusing on building credit.