Our Real Estate Blog
As a homebuyer, it may be beneficial to establish goals. Because once you know what you want to accomplish during the homebuying journey, you can take the necessary steps to achieve your homebuying aspirations.
Now, let's take a look at three factors to consider as you develop homebuying goals.
1. Your Dream Home
Define your dream house – you will be glad you did. If you know what you want to find in your ideal residence, you can map out your homebuying journey accordingly.
Generally, it helps to make a list of house must-haves before you launch a home search. This list should include any features you require from a residence, along with your preferred cities and towns.
If you need a home that provides convenient access to your office in the city, for example, owning a house in or near the city itself is a must. Or, if you require a home that offers ample space for you and your kids, you can search for residences that provide multiple bedrooms and play areas.
2. Your Homebuying Budget
When it comes to buying a house, it is beneficial to get your finances in order. That way, you can hone your home search to residences that fall within your price range.
Meeting with banks and credit unions allows you to learn about a broad assortment of mortgage options. These financial institutions can teach you about different types of home financing. Then, you can select a mortgage and enter the real estate market with a budget in hand.
3. Your Homebuying Timeline
Consider how long it will take you to find and purchase a home that matches your expectations. If you establish a homebuying timeline, you may be better equipped than ever before to optimize your time and resources as you search for your dream residence.
Of course, it helps to maintain a flexible homebuying timeline. And if you encounter challenges during the homebuying journey, you can adjust your timeline as needed.
For those who plan to pursue a home, it may be helpful to hire a real estate agent, too. If you employ a real estate agent, you can get the support you need to navigate the homebuying journey like a pro.
A real estate agent is happy to help you explore a variety of homes in your preferred cities and towns. If you find a house you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this residence. Plus, if your offer to purchase is accepted, a real estate agent will guide you along the final stages of the homebuying journey.
As you prepare to conduct a home search, you may want to develop goals. If you begin a home search with a plan, you could streamline the process of finding and purchasing your ideal residence. Best of all, you may be able to acquire a first-rate house that will serve you well for an extended period of time.
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.
If you’re a first-time buyer, odds are you’ve never seen or heard much about mortgage applications. However, for something as important as buying a home, it pays off to go into the process knowing what to expect.
Mortgage applications aren’t all that complicated in and of themselves. Most of the time, your chosen lender will walk you through the process and answer any questions that arise. However, complications do arise when it comes time to provide documentation on things like your income.
To make things easier for your first application, I’ve put together this list of frequently asked questions that first-time buyers often have about their mortgage application process.
Will applying for a mortgage hurt my credit score?
Mortgage lenders will run a credit inquiry to help determine your lending eligibility. There are two types of credit inquiries: hard and soft. A soft inquiry is a quick credit check that doesn’t affect your credit score. A hard inquiry, on the other hand, does. This means your score will be lowered slightly for a few months and then will bounce back.
Mortgage lenders run both types of inquiries. For quick, pre-qualifications, lenders typically run a soft inquiry. Then, as you progress through the approval process, they’re run a detailed credit report (hard inquiry).
What information should I have available?
Lenders will ask you for various documents. The most common things they will ask for include proof of income in the form of W-2 forms from the previous year and your most recent pay stub. They will also require a record of your other debts, including student loans, auto loans, credit card debt, and any other outstanding debt that you owe. Finally, they will ask for an inventory of your assets. This could include investments, properties, auto titles, and more.
What if I don’t work a conventional job?
People who are self-employed or have unconventional income can still qualify for a loan and will still be required to show proof of income. Lenders may ask for Form 1099 records, tax returns, or any other record or proof of income you have available.
How long does it take to complete an application?
Mortgage applications can be completed as quickly as you gather the required documentation. However, there’s more to getting approved for a mortgage than filling out an application. There will be time needed to process the application, and underwrite your mortgage. This entire process typically takes between 30 and 45 days.
Is it safe to apply for a mortgage online?
Most lenders allow you to start the application process online and their online portals are typically secure. Make sure you check your browser window to ensure that the connection to the site is secured, and you should have nothing to worry about.
Keep in mind that most online applications are designed to get you prequalified and on your way to getting a mortgage. So, if you want to avoid getting calls from the lender, you might not want to enter any data until you know you’re interested in borrowing at this time.
Believe it or not, your credit score can make a world of difference as you get ready to search for your ideal house. If you have an excellent credit score, you likely will have no trouble obtaining home financing. On the other hand, if you have a bad credit score, you may struggle to get the financing you need to make your homeownership dream come true.
Ultimately, there are many reasons why you should try to boost your credit score before you purchase a home, and these include:
1. You can simplify the homebuying process.
Purchasing a home can be challenging, particularly for property buyers who fail to get pre-approved for financing. Luckily, if you request copies of your credit reports, you can find out your credit score and identify ways to improve it. Perhaps most important, you can explore ways to bolster your credit score before you submit a mortgage application and increase the likelihood that you can receive pre-approval for a mortgage.
It usually is a good idea to review your credit reports before you enter the housing market. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). If you request a copy of your credit report from the three reporting bureaus, you can learn your credit score and plan accordingly.
2. You may qualify for a low interest rate on a mortgage.
An excellent credit score may help you get a low interest rate on a mortgage. Thus, if you have an excellent credit score, you may wind up reducing your monthly mortgage payments.
Of course, a low interest rate on a mortgage may allow you to invest in your home as well. If you use the money that you save on your mortgage to complete home improvements, you could upgrade your residence and increase its value over time.
3. You can select the right mortgage option based on your individual needs.
With an outstanding credit score, there likely will be no shortage of lenders that are willing to work with you. As such, you can review a broad range of mortgage options and choose one that matches your expectations.
If you need to improve your credit score, there's no need to worry. Typically, paying off outstanding debt will help you boost your credit score prior to buying a house.
Furthermore, if you receive a credit report and identify errors on it, contact the bureau that provided the report. This will enable you to make any corrections right away.
And if you need help as you get ready to pursue your dream house, don't hesitate to reach out to a real estate agent too. A real estate agent can put you in touch with the top lenders in your area and make it easy to obtain home financing. Plus, this housing market professional will enable you to evaluate residences in your preferred cities and towns and find one that you can enjoy for an extended period of time.
The US government has been helping Americans achieve their goal of homeownership for decades. Through programs offered by the Federal Housing Authority, the USDA, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, millions of Americans have been able to afford a home who would have otherwise struggled.
The focus of today’s post is one such service: loans offered through the USDA Rural Development program.
If you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future but are worried about being able to save up enough for a down payment or build your credit score in time, USDA loans could be a viable option.
Let’s take a look at some of the common questions people have about USDA loans:
Do I have to live in the middle of nowhere to get a USDA loan?
The short answer is “no.” rural development loan eligibility for your area is laid out on a map provided by the USDA. Most of the suburbs outside of major cities, as well as nearly all rural areas, are covered by the rural development program.
Can I qualify for a USDA loan if I’ve previously owned a home?
Yes. You may be eligible for a loan as long as you’re not the current owner of a home that was purchased through the rural development program. So, for example, if you own a home financed through the USDA and wanted to buy a second home and rent out the first one, you wouldn’t be able to finance your second home through the USDA.
How does the USDA loan guarantee work?
When you buy a home, a lender asks you to make a down payment. If you don’t have a down payment, the government (USDA, VA, or FHA) insures the down payment on your home rather than you paying it up front.
Will I have to pay mortgage insurance?
Unlike other subsidized loans, rural development loans require a “guarantee fee” rather than PMI (private mortgage insurance). The guarantee fee is 1% the total mortgage amount and this can typically be financed into the loan (so you don’t have to pay up front). In addition to the guarantee fee, USDA loans also charge an annual premium for the lifetime of a loan.
What are the qualifications for a USDA loan?
To find full eligibility information, complete the survey on the USDA’s eligibility website to find out if you qualify. However, the general qualifications are:
Buying a home in a qualifying area
24 months of income history
A credit score of 640 or higher for streamlined processing
Income high enough so that your monthly payments do not exceed 29% of your monthly earnings
What is the direct loan program?
The USDA really offers multiple urban development loans. The guarantee program, for which most single families utilize, and the direct loan program. Direct loans are designed for families who have the greatest need. You can also find out if you’re eligible for a direct loan by filling out the questionnaire on their website.