Tips for #NewHomebuyers

Tips for New Homebuyers:

  1. Saving money for down payment. The least amount needed to buy a home is 3.5% of the purchase price of the home. Keep this in mind when wondering how much is needed for a down payment. The more money you have to put down, the better.
  2. Improve credit. Most lenders will require a middle credit score of at least 640 and each person’s credit is unique. There are many assumptions and myths about credit. Please don’t hesitate to call with questions or come attend one of our free credit classes to better understand how credit works and what you can do to improve your scores.
  3. Get Pre-Approved. It’s extremely important to sit down with a loan originator to go over your credit and documents to figure out what mortgage payment and house value you can afford to buy. Each person’s situation is unique and there are multiple factors that go into qualifying for a loan. Call us today to sit down for a free consultation and better understand what you qualify for.
  4. Create list of wants and needs in a house. What neighborhood you want to move to, how many bedrooms and bathrooms you need, what schools do you need to stay by, do you prefer a garage and/or basement, what’s your minimum requirement for square footage, what monthly mortgage payment would you be comfortable paying, etc.
  5. Interview for an agent. It’s important to make sure you hire a real estate agent that knows the process and works well with not only you, but the loan originator and seller’s realtor. We recommend you call and interview at least 3 agents to make sure you get paired with the right one. I work with some of the top agents in the Denver metro area and can recommend a couple for you to contact.
  6. Understand what type of market you’re in. Denver is currently in a strong seller’s market. This means there’s a lot of competition for houses and you will probably have to make an offer immediately on a house you like, overbid and expect not to get seller concessions to cover some of your closing costs.
  7. Ask questions. The process of buying a home can be frustrating and confusing. There’s a lot of information, fees and new regulations. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and trust your gut. If you’re not getting answers or don’t feel comfortable with the process, look into working with someone else. Buying a house will probably be the largest purchase of your life and you need people that are going to guide you through the process and look out for your best interest.

Let me know if you have any questions, comments or referrals.

Your Lender for Life,

Lauren

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#Mistakes to Avoid When #SellingHome

Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Home

We all know it ‘s good to be a seller in today’s market, but there’s still mistakes you want to avoid to keep the process smooth. The following are the top 5 most commonly seen mistakes sellers make when putting their house on the market:

  1. Hiring any real estate agent that you come across. The process of selling a home can be a frustrating process. If you don’t have a realtor that knows what they’re doing, stays on top of the process and stays in good communication with you, you’re going to wind up being extremely frustrated and possibly extending your closing date. It’s important that you find people who are going to take care of you and get you through the process as smoothly as possible.
  2. Pricing a home incorrectly. Most people are attached to their home because of the history and memories they’ve created there. But you must look at the home objectively, and understand that what matters most is square footage, # of bedrooms and bathrooms, lot size and condition of house. Your real estate agent should help determine the value of the property by looking at recent sales in your area with similar characteristics. Remember that they are an expert in the field and do this for a living.
  3. Underestimating cleaning up – Buyers cannot see themselves in spaces that are untidy and overcrowded with your personal items. Oversimplify each room and put away everything you can. When there are too many items or pieces of furniture in a room, it appears smaller than it really is and hurts the look of your home. Also make sure to take down all personal photos so the new buyers can see themselves in the home and not just you and your family.
  4. Lingering during showings – Not only do you put extra stress and pressure on your agent, but the possible buyers seeing your home. Buyers are less likely to see themselves in your house if you’re present. If you’re worried about items going missing, lock them up.
  5. Skipping over a home inspection beforehand. Depending on the age of the house, it might be a good idea to get the house inspected before putting it on the market to save time, money and a lot of aggravation. Knowing the age and condition of your house can give you time to fix anything needed instead of allowing the buyer to find these problems and having to re-negotiating the price.

Don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions, comments or referrals.

Your Lender for Life,

Lauren

Qualifying for a Loan

Qualifying for a Loan

When qualifying a buyer, a lender will take a look at credit, income, liabilities, and assets. It’s important to sit down with a loan originator to take a look at these items together and find out what you qualify for. Here are the following documents needed to start the pre-approval process:

– 2012 and 2013 Signed Federal Tax Returns

– 2011, 2012, and 2013 W2s and 1099s

– Last 30 days of paystubs

– Last bank statement

– Copy of Driver’s License

What lenders look for with these documents:

  1. Credit: Most lenders will require a minimum credit score of 640 with little to no derogatory trades like late payments, collections, judgments, bankruptcies or foreclosures listed on the credit report. If you have any of these derogatory trades, you can probably still qualify for a loan. Please reach out to us so we can take a look and see if there’s anything we can work with you on to get you in the right spot.
  2. Income and Liabilities: Lenders must make sure you’re able to pay back the mortgage and can usually only go up to a certain debt to income ratio. The lender will add up all your current monthly liabilities reported on your credit (credit cards, car loans, mortgages, student loans, etc.) plus the new monthly payment you will take on with the new mortgage and divide this total number by your monthly income. Recent guidelines have limited this debt to income ratio to 43%. But there are exceptions if you have a large amount of money saved up.
  3. Assets – lenders will also make sure you have enough assets to cover the down payment and closing costs. Refrain from depositing a bunch of money into an account or transferring money between accounts. This is because every lender must have you write a letter of explnation and source all deposits that are 25% of your monthly income or more. This rule is to abide by the Patriot Act to make sure you are not a terrorist or laundering money for terrorism.

Please let me know if you have any questions, comments, or referrals.

Your Lender for Life,

Lauren

Are You Ready to Buy a Home?

With house values increasing and historically low rates, some renters are still wondering why they should own their own home. Here are some reasons you should consider buying a home:

Holding house1. You no longer have to answer to a landlord, worrying about whether you’re going to get back your full deposit or not and if things are going to get repaired and taken care of.

2. With each payment you’re making towards your mortgage, you’re investing in your home by increasing the equity. You could see this money down the road when you decide to sell your house or do cash out refinance. When you’re renting, you’re paying for someone else’s mortgage and investment.

3. You can change the look and layout of the house to fit your style. You can paint, remodel and change the house without worrying about asking for permission from the landlord.

4. Depending on your situation and what you qualify for, you could be saving money on a mortgage payment vs. a rent payment. Trulia just released that in 2013, buying a home in Denver was 45% cheaper than renting (http://trends.truliablog.com/vis/rentvsbuy-summer-2013/)

5. Low interest rates and affordable homes will not last forever. Although buying a home makes more sense financially now, that gap will start closing as rates and home values continue to increase.

6. Guidelines and regulations to buy a home have gotten stricter within the past few years and will only continue to make it harder to buy a home. Buy a home now while you can before income guidelines become stricter and make it impossible for you.

7. Tax Benefits – You’re able to write off a lot of expenses and costs of owning a home. I recommend consulting your accountant for specifics, but there’s many tax benefits of owning a home.

8. One thing to keep in mind is the upkeep of a house once you own it. There isn’t a landlord to call and take care of repairs and damages. You’re on the hook if anything happens to the property, so saving money is even more important than before.

 

Don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any comments, questions or referrals.

Your Lender for Life,

Lauren