Philip Ottaviani's Blog
Buying a house is a life-changing decision. As such, you should perform extensive home evaluations before you make your final purchase decision.
There are many questions to consider as you review houses, and these questions include:
1. Does a home match my expectations?
Entering the housing market with homebuying criteria usually is a good idea. If you know what you want to find in your dream house, you can tailor your home search accordingly. As a result, you can speed up the homebuying journey.
When it comes to establishing homebuying criteria, it helps to consider your short- and long-term goals. For example, if you want a house that is close to your current office in the city, you can search for residences in towns and cities near your workplace. Or, if you are willing to upgrade a house on your own, you may want to focus on "fixer-upper" properties.
2. Can I afford a house?
Home prices vary based on many factors. Fortunately, if you create a homebuying budget, you can narrow your house search and review properties that fall within your price range.
Oftentimes, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Banks and credit unions are happy to provide you with a wide assortment of mortgage options. Once you assess the different types of mortgages, you can choose one that will ensure you can acquire your dream home in no time at all.
3. Will a home require in-depth repairs in the near future?
How a home looks today may not match how this residence looks in the years to come. As you evaluate residences, it may be beneficial to consider potential repairs.
For instance, if a house likely will require a new roof in the next few years, you may need to budget for this expense. Conversely, if a home is brand new or recently has been upgraded, you may be able to avoid costly, time-consuming repairs in the foreseeable future.
If you want to streamline your home search, you can hire a real estate agent too. In fact, if you employ a real estate agent, you can receive comprehensive support throughout the homebuying journey.
A real estate agent has a simple goal: to help you find a great house at a budget-friendly price. To accomplish this goal, a real estate agent will learn about you and your homebuying criteria and craft a personalized homebuying strategy. Plus, a real estate agent will set up home showings, offer expert homebuying recommendations and help you submit an offer to purchase your dream residence. And if you have homebuying concerns or questions, a real estate agent is available to respond to them at your convenience.
Lastly, be careful as you evaluate available homes in your preferred cities and towns. Keep in mind that no house is perfect, and any residence you buy may increase or decrease in value over time. And if you find a home that you want to buy, prepare a competitive offer, and you can boost the likelihood of receiving an instant "Yes" from a property seller.
For those who want to simplify the homebuying process, crafting a budget is ideal. Because if you tailor your house search to your finances, you can eliminate the risk of spending beyond your means to acquire your dream residence.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you budget for the homebuying journey.
1. Analyze Your Financial Situation
Request a copy of your credit report – you'll be glad you did. You are eligible to receive a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Once you have your credit report, you can assess your credit score and take steps to improve it as needed.
Getting your credit report can help you identify outstanding debt and other financial issues that may make it tough to acquire a house. If you can correct these issues today, you can eliminate the risk that they could impact your ability to buy your dream residence in the near future.
2. Consider Your Homebuying Expenses
The price of a home is one of many financial considerations that a buyer will need to evaluate during the property buying journey. Fortunately, if you map out your homebuying expenses, you can ensure that you'll have the finances available to cover these costs as you pursue your dream home.
For example, a property inspection may be used to assess a house's condition before you finalize a home purchase. This inspection will require you to hire a professional home inspector, so you will need to make sure you have the money available to cover the cost of this homebuying expense.
You should consider home closing costs as well. And if you start saving for home closing fees and other homebuying expenses, you won't have to worry about scrambling to get the money to cover these costs as you navigate the property buying journey.
3. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Pre-approval for a mortgage is a must, regardless of your homebuying goals. If you meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, you can analyze your home financing options and select a mortgage that suits you perfectly.
Banks and credit unions are happy to teach you about different types of mortgages and how each type of mortgage works. Plus, if you have any mortgage questions, banks and credit unions are ready to respond to your queries right away.
As you prepare to pursue your dream house, you also may want to hire a real estate agent. In addition to helping you streamline your search for your ideal residence, a real estate agent can put you in touch with the top mortgage professionals in your area, help you plan ahead for various homebuying expenses and much more.
If you want to conduct a successful home search, it may be a good idea to prepare a homebuying budget. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can craft a homebuying budget so you can accelerate the process of acquiring your dream house.
Buying a home is a process that can seem daunting and even a little scary to most first-time buyers. After all, being a homeowner is a huge financial and personal responsibility.
To make this lengthy process a bit more approachable, we’re going to break it down into five steps. While these five steps may be somewhat different for each person, depending on their own unique situation, they do comprise most home buyer’s experience.
If you’re interested in learning the steps you’ll need to take before owning your first home, read on.
Step 1: Know your long-term goals
Before you buy a home, you’ll want to have a clear understanding of what you, your spouse, and your family want from the next five or more years. You’ll want to make sure the area you’re moving to can provide things like career advancement and opportunity, good schools for your children, and so on.
These questions may seem obvious, but it’s an important conversation to have before making the long-term commitment of owning a home.
Step 2: Your budget and your needs
It might be tempting to hop online and start shopping for houses, but first you should get a clear idea of the size and cost of the house you’re looking for. This involves determining your budget, thinking about your credit and planning for your down payment.
Step 3: Mortgage pre-approval
Getting preapproved for a mortgage can be a great way to gauge the interest late and loan amount you’ll be approved for. You’ll need to gather paperwork, including income information (pay stubs), tax returns, and W-2 forms.
Be aware that lenders will run a detailed credit report. Since credit reports count as an inquiry, they can temporarily lower your credit score by a few points.
Applying to several lenders within a short period of time can make a significant impact on your score. However, it will start to rise again within a few months if you don’t open any new credit accounts or take out other loans.
Step 4: Get an agent
Real estate agents know the ins and outs of the home buying process better than anyone else. They’ll be able to guide you through the process and provide you with information that you can’t get anywhere else.
Step 5: Pick the right home for you
Now it’s time to start home shopping. However, before you begin, remember that getting approved for a loan doesn’t mean you must or should seek to spend the full amount on a home.
Plan for your needs, and keep the future in mind. Someday you might decide to upgrade, but in the meantime you can be building your credit and building equity in a smaller or more frugal home.
It’s always a goal in life to be happier in our jobs and make more money. When it comes to buying a home, your job status can have a big effect on whether or not you’ll be able to buy a home or not. You will be able to buy a home using a new source of income. Even refinancing can be a breeze when you have a new job and the right knowledge.
Many people believe that changing jobs or having gaps in between employment is a certain type of black hole when it comes to getting a mortgage. However, if you approach all of the changes in the correct way, you should be able to land the mortgage deal and secure a home.
One of the most important numbers that your lender will calculate when you’re buying a home is that of your average income. This will be based on the pay that you had earned in the past 24 months‘ time. If you have had the same job and pay, this won’t be much of a big deal, However, if any of these things have changed (or will soon change) your lender may have some questions. This doesn’t mean that your mortgage application will be struck down completely.
Information That’s Needed In The Event Of A Job Change
If you have recently changed jobs in the process of trying to refinance or buy a new home, your lender will need a few pieces of information from you. These items include:
- An offer letter for the job
- A role or title change letter (if applicable)
- Compensation package change confirmation
- Verification of employment
- Most recent pay stub
If you’re an hourly employee, unfortunately, you’re under the tightest type of scrutiny when it comes to applying for a mortgage. Your income will be averaged for as long as you have been an hourly employee. If you work full-time, this won’t be too much of a problem. If your hours fluctuate from week-to-week, this can make things a bit more complicated.
If your hourly rates have recently gone up, you’ll need a bit of info from your employer to help you get the income verification that your lender needs. These items include:
- An offer letter
- Recent pay stubs
- The new compensation structure or offer
If you have any sort of extenuating circumstances like a relocation or a new position, this information can help to bridge the gap in any information that just doesn’t add up as far as your employment history goes.
If you’re a salaried employee, things are a bit simpler. Your lender will have a much easier time calculating your average income. The only issue that you may encounter is if you have had a gap in employment. For this, your lender will require a written explanation of what occurred during that time period.
Lenders want to protect themselves, but in a way, they also want to protect you from getting in over your head with how much you can afford for a home. With some proof and a little explanation, you should be able to get a house you can afford if you have all of the information that you need to back up your financial history and employment history.
Buying a home is one of the most expensive undertakings that you’ll ever have in your lifetime. You probably have spent months upon months saving for a downpayment in order to make your home purchase. The problem is that after they believe their savings are complete, many buyers discover unexpected costs that go along with buying a home, making the entire process even more stressful. You should be prepared for many different kinds of costs that go beyond the sticker price of a home. Below, many of those surprising costs are laid out in detail.
Closing costs can be anywhere from 2-7% of the purchase price of a home. Closing costs cover quite a bit including:
- Inspection fees
- Title insurance
- Property taxes
- Mortgage insurance
- Underwriting fees
- Recording fees
- Loan origination fees
Depending upon the type of loan you get or your specific circumstances, your closing costs could be even more. Keep in mind that you won’t find out your specific closing cost amounts until the purchase of the home is well underway. You can talk to your realtor and lender ahead of time to be prepared for your own situation.
Closing costs are also negotiable, so don’t forget to ask questions. Certain administrative fees, for example, are often unnecessary and can be waived.
If you have a low appraisal on your home, you may need even more cash on hand. In order to meet loan and home value requirements, lenders won’t approve a loan for an amount that’s higher than the home is appraised for. In this case, if you still want the home, you’ll be left to come up with the difference in cash. Otherwise, you could be forced to walk away from the deal and lose some money in the process. This is one of those home purchase emergencies that you should simply be aware of. It can be an emotional experience to get a low appraisal on a home, but remember that there are sensible ways to deal with this dilemma.
Many buyers forget in the excitement of buying a home just how much it will cost to move. Whether you hire a moving company or do it yourself, moving can be expensive. You’ll need a truck, packing supplies and a way to pay (or simply thank) the people who help you to move.
The Things You Need For Your Home
Your home won’t come with everything that you need. You may have to buy a refrigerator, have some repairs done, or simply get furnishings for the home. Don’t strap your budget so thin that you won’t be able to buy a sofa until six months after moving into the home.