Buying a home ranks among the largest purchases everyday people make in their entire lifetimes. If you have gone through the process at least once, you probably gained some valuable life lessons. Whether it’s time to purchase a larger home for a growing family or downsize to a more manageable living space, there are pitfalls that trip up even experienced homebuyers. These rank among the unforeseen issues that can cause setbacks and ways to avoid them.
1: Overcompensating For Past Regrets
When buyers search for their next home, it’s not uncommon to be driven by the perceived shortcomings of the last. For example, you bought a property that had all the living space you need. This may have included a home office, attached garage, and plenty of room to entertain guests. The downside may have been a lack of outdoor living space. Driven by the desire to have a veranda, deck, or big yard, emotion may cause you to compromise on other musts. It may be in your best interest to make a checklist of your needs and be certain you won’t experience buyer’s regret, a second time.
2: Skipping Contingency Planning
It’s not unusual for people to see properties moving quickly in their area and become overconfident yours won’t sit on the market long. The common mistake is to move forward and buy your dream home while expecting only a short period of holding two mortgages. If for some odd reason the market goes dormant in your neighborhood, the financial implications could prove disastrous.
The flipside is selling your hot property and renting as a stop-gap measure. Low housing inventories and competitive markets could land you in a pinch, and home-ownerless for an extended period. These are the reasons why people rely on contingency plans. Craft a deal that sets the homes up like a series of dominoes. When one sells, they all move, and you spend only one day relocating instead of many in a tight spot. Contingencies provide security and stability.
3: Forecasting A Neighborhood’s Future
No homebuyer or real estate professional has a crystal ball that accurately predicts a property’s value. But there is plenty of hard data that can be used to indicate whether a neighborhood is trending in the positive or negative. This may be particularly true in 2020.
Potential homebuyers can look at the pricing that includes listing, sales, and valuations that began before the last recession and lending crisis. You can expect to see a decline in these measures during that rough period. But these days, the economy is robust in many areas. How the property, and surrounding area, performed coming out of the recession could be a telltale sign of where values are heading. The point is to conduct thorough due diligence about the home and others in the neighborhood. Making an informed decision is critical to purchasing a property, regardless of whether you’re a newbie or seasoned homebuyer.
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If you’re a first time homebuyer and want to start weighing your mortgage options, you’ll have much to learn. With so much at stake, you’ll want to make sure you choose the best mortgage for you now, and one that will still suit your needs years into the future.
Sometimes, first time buyers are hesitant to ask questions they may consider too basic because they don’t want to seem inexperienced to lenders, agents, or anyone else they’ll be in contact with throughout the home buying process.
So, in this article, we’ve compiled a list of commonly asked mortgage questions that first time buyers might want to ask before heading into the process of acquiring a home loan.
What is the first step to getting a mortgage?
This question may seem straightforward, however the first step can vary depending on your financial situation. For those who already have saved up for a down payment and built a solid credit score, the first step is probably contacting lenders and getting preapproved or prequalified.
However, if you aren’t sure about your credit score and haven’t saved up for a down payment (ideally, 20% of what you hope to spend on the house), then you should address those matters first.
To find a lender, you can do a simple Google search for the mortgage lenders in your area, or you can ask around to friends and family to find out their experience with their own mortgage lenders.
What does it mean to be pre-qualified and pre-approved?
If you think of the mortgage process in three steps, the first step would be getting pre-qualified. This means you’ve given the lender enough basic information for them to decide which type of mortgage you’re eligible to receive.
Pre-approval includes collecting and verifying further details. At this step, you’ll complete a mortgage application and the lender will run a credit check. Once you’re pre-approved, your file can be moved to the underwriting phase.
What are closing costs?
“Closing costs” is an umbrella term that covers all of the various fees and expenses related to buying or selling a home. As a buyer, you are responsible for paying numerous closing costs. These can include, but are not limited to, underwriting fees, title searches, title insurance, origination fees, taxes, appraisal fees, surveys, and more.
That sounds like a lot to keep track of, however your lender will be able to give you an accurate estimate of the total closing costs when you apply for your loan. In fact, lenders are required to give you a list of these costs within three days of your loan application in the form of a “good faith estimate” of the closing costs.
What will my interest rate be?
The answer to this question is dependent upon numerous factors. The value of the home, your credit score, the amount you put down (down payment), the type of mortgage you have, and whether or not you’re paying private mortgage insurance all factor into the interest rate you’ll receive. Interest rates also will vary slightly between lenders.
You can receive a fixed-rate mortgage that does not fluctuate throughout the repayment term. However, you also typically have the option to refinance to acquire a lower interest rate, however refinancing comes with its own costs.
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Believe it or not, upgrading your residence's curb appeal won't necessarily force you to break your budget. Now, let's take a look at three cost-effective ways to improve your house's curb appeal.
1. Mow the Lawn
Tall grass and weeds are unlikely to do you any favors, particularly if you want to reap the benefits of a fast, profitable home sale. Fortunately, if you spend some time mowing the lawn and trimming the hedges, you may be able to boost your house's curb appeal.
It generally won't take long to perform lawn maintenance tasks. Then, once you complete these tasks for the first time, you can set up a schedule to complete them every week or every other week until your residence sells. That way, your lawn will continue to look great in the eyes of potential buyers.
2. Clear the Walkways
Dirt, dust and debris may make your home's exterior walkways look messy. Perhaps worst of all, these problems may drive prospective buyers away from your house.
On the other hand, neat, tidy walkways could help your residence stand out to potential buyers. If you devote time and resources to sweep and clean your house's exterior walkways, you can increase the likelihood that your residence will make a positive first impression on buyers.
3. Remove Decorations
Although plastic flamingoes, lawn gnomes and other home exterior decorations have helped you distinguish your house from others in your neighborhood, now may be a good time to put these decorations into storage. Because if you keep decorations on your lawn, it may be difficult for a buyer to envision what life may be like as the owner of your house.
Remember, your goal as a home seller is to make your residence as appealing as possible to prospective buyers. By removing home exterior decorations, you can show off your residence's full potential. As such, you can make it easy for buyers to fall in love with your residence as soon as they see it for the first time.
As you search for ways to upgrade your house's curb appeal without breaking your budget, you may want to consult with a real estate agent too. This housing market professional is happy to provide home selling recommendations and can help you transform your home's exterior from drab to fab.
Typically, a real estate agent will provide expert guidance at each stage of the house selling journey. He or she first will help you craft a home selling strategy and promote your residence to dozens of prospective buyers. Plus, once you receive an offer to purchase your home, a real estate agent can help you analyze this proposal. And if you accept an offer to purchase your house, a real estate agent will do whatever it takes to help you quickly finalize your home sale.
Ready to list your residence? Upgrade your house's curb appeal today, and you can move one step closer to achieving the best-possible results during the property selling journey.