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Avoid These Purchase Pitfalls
Many homebuyers—first-timers as well as seasoned pros—can make some
missteps when purchasing a home. Here’s a look a some common first-time home buyer mistakes that we want you to be sure to avoid.
1. They don’t ask enough questions of their lender and end up missing out on the best deal.
2. They don’t act quickly enough to make a decision and someone else buys the house.
3. They don’t find the right agent who’s willing to help them through the home-buying process. (Call us!)
4. They don’t do enough to make their offer look appealing to a seller.
5. They don’t think about resale before they buy. (The average first-time buyer stays in a home roughly nine or ten years.)
1. Your payment history. Did you pay your credit card obligations on time? If they were late, then how late? Bankruptcy filing, liens, and collection activity also impact your history.
2. How much you owe. If you owe a great deal of money on numerous accounts, it can indicate that you are overextended. However, it’s a good thing if you have a good proportion of balances to total credit limits.
3. The length of your credit history. In general, the longer you have had accounts opened, the better. The average consumer’s oldest obligation is 14 years old, indicating that he or she has been managing credit for some time, according to Fair Isaac Corp., and very few consumers have credit histories shorter than 2 years.
4. How much new credit you have. New credit, either installment payments or new credit cards, are considered more risky, even if you pay them promptly.
5. The types of credit you use. Generally, it’s desirable to have more than one type of credit history — installment loans, credit cards, and a mortgage, for example.
To learn more, seek a mortgage lender or financial advisor.
Owning vs Renting. What’s the difference?
There are dozens of reasons to own, but I’ve only listed 7 for your convenience!
1. Tax breaks. The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, as well as some of the costs involved in buying
2. Appreciation. Real estate has long-term, stable growth in value. While some year-to-year fluctuations are normal, median existing-home sale prices have increased since the recession. In addition, the number of U.S. households is expected to rise over the next decade, creating continued high demand for housing.
3. Equity. Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but
mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home.
4. Savings. Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And
when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married
couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.
5. Predictability. Unlike rent, your fixed-mortgage payments don’t rise over the
years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer.
However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will increase.
6. Freedom. The home is yours. You can interior decorate any way you want and benefit from your investment for as long as you own the home.
7. Stability. Remaining in one neighborhood for several years gives you a chance
to participate in community activities, lets you and your family establish lasting
friendships, and offers your children the benefit of educational continuity.
Online resources: To calculate whether buying is the best financial option for
you, use this “Buy vs. Rent” calculator:
Sometimes sellers are left aghast at a buyer’s low offer. Why is he/she asking so much off the price? Is my home listed for too much? Does the buyer not see the value of my home?
Sellers, here are some ways to improve the offers you receive. No need to feel anxious about putting your home on the market. Let the list below guide you through the process. It can make things a little easier!
1. Price it right. Set a price at the lower end or middle of your property’s realistic price range.
2. Prepare for visitors. Get your house market ready at least two weeks before you begin showing it. Be sure to tidy up and remove clutter.
3. Be flexible about showings. It’s often disruptive to have a house ready to show at the spur of the moment. But the more amenable you can be about letting people see your home, the sooner you’ll find a buyer.
4. Anticipate the offers. Decide in advance what price and terms you’ll find acceptable.
5. Don’t refuse to drop the price. If your home has been on the market for more than 30 days without an offer, you should be prepared to at least consider lowering your asking price.
We’re often asked about the best way to prepare to buy a home. And there are several ways to do it. You can follow some of these tips or ask your financial advisor or lender to assist you. In the meantime, here are some that we would like to share to help you get started in the process of home buying.
1. Develop your household budget. Instead of creating a budget of what you’d
like to spend, use receipts to create a budget that reflects your actual spending habits over the last several months. This approach will factor in unexpected expenses, such as car repairs, as well as predictable costs such as rent, utility bills and groceries.
2. Reduce your debt. Lenders generally look for a total debt load of no more
than 36 percent of income. This figure includes your mortgage, which typically
ranges between 25 and 28 percent of your net household income. So you need to
get monthly payments and the rest of your installment debt — car loans, student
loans, and revolving balances on credit cards — down to between 8% and 10%
of your net monthly income.
3. Look for ways to save. You probably know how much you spend on rent and
utilities, but little expenses can add up, too. Try writing down everything you
spend for one month. You’ll probably spot some great ways to save, whether it’s
cutting out that morning trip to Starbucks or eating dinner at home more often.
4. Increase your income. Now’s the time to ask for a raise! If that’s not an
option, you may want to consider taking on a second job to get your income at a
level high enough to qualify for the home you want.
5. Save for a down payment. Designate a certain amount of money each month
to put away in your savings account. Although it is possible to get a mortgage
with no or very little money down, you can usually get a better rate if you
put down a larger percentage of the total purchase. Aiming for a 10 percent to 20 percent down payment is a great place to start. This may also eliminate private mortgage insurance, also known as PMI.
6. Keep your job. While you don’t need to be in the same job forever to qualify
for a home loan, having a job for less than two years may mean you have to pay a
higher interest rate.
7. Establish a good credit history. Get a credit card and make payments by the
due date. Do the same for all your other bills, too. Pay off the entire balance
Promptly. Don’t just make the minimum payment.