Sheryl Simon's Blog
For most people, buying a house is the biggest investment they will make. Unless you are paying cash, the transaction could become complicated. Not that many people can pay cash for a house – and for those that can, it often makes more sense to borrow than to use up cash reserves, especially if interest rates are low. Whether this is your first home purchase or a subsequent home purchase, you might consider going with as much home as you can afford. In some cases, such as when the elderly want to downsize, smaller is better, but in most other cases, larger is better.
When you do go to sell your home to downsize or because you get a job transfer, you’ll get more money for a larger home. Most people want at least three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Those houses tend to sell easier than homes with fewer bedrooms and bathrooms.
If you are newly married, planning on getting married or moving in with your significant other, or if you are older, but plan to have one of your children move in with you, you might want to start with a larger home so that you won’t have to go through the hassle of selling to upgrade. Even if you are single, if you plan on having a family, you might want to buy a larger house now. If you change your mind about the family, you can always sell it later on – and get more for a house that will be easier to sell.
When you entertain, you won’t be stuck sleeping on the floor or on the sofa if you have extra bedrooms. Your guests can have the privacy of their own room when you buy a bigger house. The more bedrooms you have, the more people you can have stay over. If you have just one person or family stay over, you might prefer just one extra bedroom, but if there’s a possibility that two friends stay, go for two or more extra bedrooms.
If you have hobbies, the extra rooms are great for decreasing the clutter around your house. A hobby that takes up tons of space is reading. If you’re an avid book collector, line the walls of an extra bedroom with bookcases – from floor to ceiling – to store all of your books. If the room has a good view, build a window seat in the room for a comfortable and quiet reading space.
And, if you need a home office, you can convert an extra bedroom into an office. You’ll have a quiet space to work, plus you’ll be able to lock up confidential information, whether you use a filing cabinet or install a hidden safe in the room.
If you want to streamline your home search, there is no need to worry. In fact, there are several things you can do to quickly and effortlessly discover a great house at a budget-friendly price.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you streamline your search for your ideal house.
1. Create Homebuying Criteria
Homebuying criteria may help you save time as you embark on a quest to find your dream home. Because if you enter the housing market with homebuying criteria in hand, you'll know what you want to discover in your ideal residence.
To create homebuying criteria, think about your home must-haves and wants. Then, you can search for houses based on your homebuying criteria and move one step closer to finding a residence that you can enjoy for years to come.
Of course, it is important to remain flexible as you pursue your dream house too. And if necessary, you should be ready to adjust your homebuying criteria as your home search progresses.
2. Hone Your Home Search to Preferred Cities and Towns
You know you want to buy a house, but you still have no idea where you want to settle down. If you make a list of preferred cities and towns, however, you may be able to accelerate your home search.
Consider your short- and long-term aspirations as you prepare a list of preferred cities and towns. For instance, if your long-term goal is to work in the city, you may want to focus on houses in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you want to own lots of land in a small town, you may want to consider small town residences.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
Searching for a home on your own may prove to be time-consuming. Fortunately, real estate agents are homebuying experts who are happy to help you simplify your house search.
By hiring a real estate agent, you can receive comprehensive assistance throughout the property buying journey. A real estate agent will teach you about the housing market and respond to your homebuying concerns and queries. Plus, he or she will offer recommendations and suggestions to help you make an informed home purchase.
In addition, a real estate agent is ready to assist you in a number of ways. He or she will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new houses that become available in your preferred cities and towns and help you submit a competitive offer to purchase your dream home. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will do whatever it takes to help you acquire a terrific residence at an affordable price.
As you get set to embark on a home search, it generally is a good idea to enter the housing market as a prepared property buyer. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can conduct an in-depth home search without delay. And as a result, you can use these tips to discover your dream house in no time at all.
A seller's market poses a challenge for any buyer - when there are more buyers competing for homes than there are homes in market, you have to be ready to move swiftly when you find a home you like. Since the inventory of luxury homes is usually small when compared with more conventional homes on the market, a seller's market could make it more difficult to get the home you want, even if your financial details are in order and you're ready to buy.
What is a Seller's Market?
A seller's market simply means that there are more people who want to buy a home than there are homes for sale. When this happens, homes can move very swiftly -- some will sell within days of listing -- and buyers need to be able to offer appealing contracts to secure a home. While the luxury market often contains a smaller inventory, there are also fewer buyers competing for homes, but the market can still favor sellers.
Tips for Buying a Luxury Home in a Seller's Market
Visit in Person: Your real estate agent can help narrow down the possibilities and you can even send someone ahead to take a first look for you -- but you should view the home sooner rather than later if you want to see it in person before you buy. Luxury homes in high end vacation destinations can go very quickly in a sellers market, so you may not have the amount of time you are used to for viewing the property.
Streamline the Process: Work with your luxury real estate agent to prepare a compelling offer that is free of contingencies, or as free as it can be. The fewer conditions you have and the easier you are to deal with, the more likely it is the seller will accept your offer. Offer a swift and easy closing, request no contingencies and be ready to go swiftly when you find the home you want.
Have Financing in Place: If you need a mortgage, you should have your details worked out and ready to go. A seller with an advantage will be reviewing multiple offers and yours should indicate there will be no delays in closing. If you are a cash buyer, the funds should be available in time for closing; make preparations early and assume you will need to close within a month.
Be Prepared to Pay Full Price: The most common impact of a seller's market is that homes sell for the asking price -- or even more than the list price. Your agent can help you determine if a full price offer is right, or if you should even consider offering above the selling price. This is most likely in a hot market where homes are selling as soon as they list. If the home is still available after a week on the market, a full price offer may not be needed, if everything else is in order.
Make the most of the process by working with a skilled agent who is familiar with the complexities and demands of the luxury market. They will be more adept at helping you find and secure the property you want than a conventional agent. When you do find a home you like, be ready to act quickly so it does not get away; these steps will help ensure you don't miss out on a property you love.
Let's face it – the homebuying journey may prove to be an expensive experience. If you're not careful, you risk overspending to acquire your dream house. On the other hand, if you purchase a home without identifying underlying structural problems, you risk costly home repairs down the line.
Ultimately, it helps to establish a budget for the homebuying journey. If you have a budget in place, you can increase the likelihood of having the necessary funds on hand to overcome many potential homebuying hurdles.
You should have no trouble creating a homebuying budget, either. In fact, here are three tips to help you put together a budget for the homebuying journey.
1. Assess Your Financial Situation
If you intend to purchase a house in the foreseeable future, you'll want to take a close look at your finances. By doing so, you may be able to reduce your monthly spending and use your savings to accelerate the homebuying journey.
It often helps to assess your daily, weekly and monthly expenses. Then, you may discover bills that you can cut from your everyday budget.
For example, you may enjoy dining out regularly, but cooking at home may prove to be more cost-effective. And as you reduce your dining expenses, you can save money that you can use toward the down payment on a new house.
2. Obtain Your Credit Score
Believe it or not, your credit score can make a world of difference in your quest to acquire a house. If you check your credit score, you may be able to find ways to improve your credit score prior to kicking off a house search.
You are eligible to receive a free copy of your credit report from each of the three reporting bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion). Take advantage of this perk, and you can learn your credit score in no time at all.
Remember, your credit score may have a major impact on your ability to land a favorable mortgage. And if you find that you have a below-average credit score, you then can pay off outstanding debt to improve it before you start your search for a new home.
3. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Pre-approval for a mortgage is ideal. With a mortgage in hand, you can enter the real estate market with a budget for buying a house.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can offer insights into a variety of mortgage options and help you make an informed mortgage selection.
Lastly, as you prepare a homebuying budget, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you hone your home search to residences that fall within your price range. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will make it simple for you to avoid spending too much to acquire your dream house.
Get ready to buy a house – use the aforementioned tips, and you can establish a successful homebuying budget.
You can ask any homeowner-buying and owning a home is expensive. Mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities, and other bills quickly add up.
If you want to buy a home but don’t have a large down payment saved, odds are you’ve discovered something called private mortgage insurance (PMI).
PMI is an extra monthly payment that you make (on top of your mortgage payment) when you don’t have enough to make a large (20%) down payment on your home.
However, if you want to buy a home and don’t want to tack on an extra monthly payment for PMI, you have options. In today’s post, I’m going to talk about some ways to avoid paying PMI on your mortgage so you can save more money in the long run.
Before we talk about getting rid of PMI, let’s spend a minute on what to expect when you do have to pay it.
PMI typically costs 0.30% to %1.15% of your total loan balance annually. That means that your PMI payments will decrease a moderate amount as you pay off your loan.
Furthermore, once you have paid off 22% of your loan, your PMI will be cancelled and you’ll only be responsible for your regular monthly mortgage payments.
Getting PMI waived early
With conventional loans, you can request to have your PMI cancelled once you’ve paid off 20% of the mortgage. However, many buyers with PMI are using some form of first-time buyer loan, such as an FHA loan.
With an FHA loan, you’ll be stuck with PMI for the lifetime of the loan if you don’t make a down payment of 10% or more. That’s a lot of PMI payments, especially if you take out a 30 year loan, and it can quickly add up.
If you have an FHA loan with FHA insurance, the only way to cancel the insurance is to refinance into a non-FHA insured loan. And remember--refinancing has its own costs and complications.
Making it to the 20% repayment mark
On conventional loans, the best way to get rid of PMI is to reach your 20% repayment mark as soon as possible. That could mean aggressively paying off your mortgage until you reach that point.
This can be achieved by making extra payments, or just paying more each month. However, you don’t want to neglect other debt that could be accruing costly interest in favor of paying off your loans. Make sure you do the math and find out which debt will be more expensive before neglecting other debt.
Once you do reach the 20% repayment mark, you’ll have to remember to apply to have your PMI canceled with your lender. Otherwise, it will be canceled automatically at 22%.