As a homebuyer, when you get to the closing table, you’ll need to pay closing costs to complete the purchase of your home. The good news is, there are ways to reduce those closing costs.
For example, you can ask the seller to provide a closing cost credit. In reality, you’re wrapping those costs into your mortgage, but it still reduces what you’ll have to pay at the closing table.
You can also elect to close at the end of the month (or as close to the end of the month as you can). If you close on the 6th you will have to cover 24 or 25 days of prepaid interest. If you were to close on the 28th you would only have to pay two or three days. The closer to the end of the month you close the less money you will need to bring to the table because you will pay less in prepaid interest.
Lastly, if you’re a veteran or active-duty member of the Armed Forces, you can get benefits through your VA loan.
If you have any questions about this or any other real estate topic, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to help you.
Posted by Dan Bennett on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 at 7:00 AMBy Dan Bennett / October 15, 2019Comment
You’ve likely heard a ton about Millennials, but what about Gen Z? In the next 5 years, this generation will be between the ages of 23 and 28, and they’re eager to become homeowners faster than you may think.
According to realtor.com, “Nearly 80 percent of Generation Z members say they want to own a home before age 30,” and Concentrix Analytics said, “52% of prospective Gen Z buyers are already saving to buy a home.”
Wikipedia defines Generation Z (Gen Z) as “the demographic cohort after the Millennials. Demographers and researchers typically use the mid-1990s to mid-2000s as starting birth years.”
Posted by Dan Bennett on Tuesday, October 1, 2019 at 7:00 AMBy Dan Bennett / October 1, 2019Comment
You made an offer and it was accepted. Your next task is to have the home inspected prior to closing. Agents often recommend you make your offer contingent upon a clean home inspection.
This contingency allows you to renegotiate the price you offered for the home, ask the sellers to cover repairs, or in some cases, walk away if challenges arise. Your agent can advise you on the best course of action once the report is filed.
How to Choose an Inspector
Your agent will most likely have a short list of inspectors they’ve worked with in the past to recommend to you. HGTV suggests you consider the following five areas when choosing the right home inspector for you:
1. Qualifications – Find out what’s included in your inspection and if the age or location of your home may warrant specific certifications or specialties.
2. Sample Reports – Ask for a sample inspection report so you can review how thoroughly they will be inspecting your dream home. In most cases, the more detailed the report, the better.
3. References – Do your homework. Ask for phone numbers and names of past clients...
Posted by Dan Bennett on Thursday, September 26, 2019 at 7:00 AMBy Dan Bennett / September 26, 2019Comment
When people talk about homeownership and the American Dream, much of the conversation revolves around the financial benefits of owning a home. However, two recent studies show that the non-financial benefits might be even more valuable.
In a recent survey, Bank of America asked homeowners: “Does owning a home make you happier than renting?” 93% of the respondents answered yes, while only 7% said no. The survey also revealed:
More than 80% said they wouldn’t go back to renting
88% agreed that buying a home is the “best decision they have ever made”
79% believed owning a home has changed them for the better
Those surveyed talked about the “emotional equity” that is built through homeownership. The study says more than half of current homeowners define a home as a place to make memories, compared to 42% who view a home as a financial investment. Besides building wealth, the survey also showed that homeownership enhances quality of life:
67% of current homeowners believed their relationships with family and loved ones have changed for the better since they bought a...
Posted by Dan Bennett on Thursday, September 19, 2019 at 7:00 AMBy Dan Bennett / September 19, 2019Comment
One of the benefits of homeownership is that it is a “forced savings plan.” Here’s how it works: You make a mortgage payment each month. Part of that payment is applied to the principal balance of your mortgage. Each month you owe less on the home. The difference between the value of the home and what you owe is called equity.
If your home has appreciated since the time you purchased it, that increase in value also raises your equity. Over time, the equity in your home could be substantial. Recently, CoreLogicrevealed that the average homeowner gained more than $65,000 in equity over the last 5 years.
Unlike last decade, homeowners are no longer foolishly tapping into that equity. In 2006-2008, many owners used their homes like an ATM by pulling equity out to purchase new cars, jet skis, or lavish vacations. They were pulling out cash (equity) from an appreciating asset, and then spending it on rapidly depreciating items. That is not happening anymore.
“In a nutshell, an HOA helps ensure that your community looks its best and functions smoothly…The number of Americans living in homes with HOAs is on the rise, growing from a mere 1% in 1970 to 25% today, according to the Foundation for Community Association Research.”
An HOA is governed by a board nominated by those living in the neighborhood. It is designed to make sure the residents have a support structure to maintain the value of the community while abiding by a set of guidelines called Common Restrictive Covenants (CC&R),
“Simply put, CC&Rs are just the rules you'll have to follow if you live in that community. Unlike zoning regulations, which are government-imposed requirements on how land can be used, restrictive covenants are established by HOAs to maintain the attractiveness and value of the property.”...
Most buyers today have a specific home in mind when they start their search: a move-in ready property complete with newly installed flooring, an upgraded kitchen, etc. Understand that when such a property comes on the market, buyers will swarm to it like bees to honey.
One way to avoid that kind of competition is to look for a home that matches your desired floor plan, but also one that requires a little work. Rather than finding yourself in a multiple-offer situation where the price of the home you’re bidding on continues to go up and up, you can cash in on a property that’s receiving little to no buyer interest.
And by using a 203k loan, you’ll be able to make the necessary renovations and breath new life into the home without paying anything out of pocket. This is a major benefit to buyers because, after factoring in the costs of purchasing a home (down payment, closing costs, credits, etc.), most don’t have any leftover cash to put toward upgrades. Better still, your upgrade expenses will be built into the mortgage itself, so again, you won’t have to come up with cash.
Posted by Dan Bennett on Monday, September 2, 2019 at 7:00 AMBy Dan Bennett / September 2, 2019Comment
On Labor Day we celebrate the hard work that helps us achieve the American Dream.
Growing up, many of us thought about our future lives with great ambition. We drew pictures of what jobs we wanted to have and where we would live as a representation of a secure life for ourselves and our families. Today we celebrate the workers that make this country a place where those dreams can become a reality.
According to Wikipedia,
“Labor Day honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the development, growth, endurance, strength, security, prosperity, productivity, laws, sustainability, persistence, structure, and well-being of the country.”
The hard work that happens every day across this country allows so many to achieve the American Dream. The 2019 Aspiring Home Buyers Profile by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) ...
Posted by Dan Bennett on Wednesday, August 28, 2019 at 7:00 AMBy Dan Bennett / August 28, 2019Comment
According to the Pew Research Center, around 37% of U.S students will be going back to school soon and the rest have already started the new academic year. With school-aged children in your home, buying or selling a house can take on a whole different approach when it comes to finding the right size, location, school district, and more.
Recently, the 2019 Moving with Kids Report from the National Association of Realtors®(NAR) studied “the different purchasing habits as well as seller preferences during the home buying and selling process.” This is what they found:
When Purchasing a Home
The major difference between the homebuyers who have children and those who do not is the importance of the neighborhood. In fact, 53% said the quality of the school district is an important factor when purchasing a home, and 50% select neighborhoods by the convenience to the schools.
In real estate, it’s so vital that you work with a great lender. Not just any lender—a great lender.
Your lender will either help you make the home buying process easy or make you hate the process altogether. If your lender doesn’t communicate with you or can’t get the job done, you’re going to get frustrated. You could even potentially lose a house.
A great lender will do the work on the front end by asking you a lot of questions and requesting certain documents so that everything is smooth and done on the back end. A lender who only asks for basic information over the phone, provides a pre-qualification, and then stops communicating with you will have you chasing them for information.
A great lender will do the work on the front end....
"Throughout our history, older people have achieved much for our families, our communities, and our country. That remains true today and gives us ample reason…to reserve a special day in honor of the senior citizens who mean so much to our land.”
To give proper recognition, we’re going to look at some senior-related data in the housing industry.
“The number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to nearly double from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million by 2060, and the 65-and-older age group’s share of the total population will rise from 16 percent to 23 percent.”
Posted by Dan Bennett on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 at 7:00 AMBy Dan Bennett / August 14, 2019Comment
Over the last couple of years, we’ve heard quite a bit about rising home prices. Today, expert projections still forecast continued growth, just at a slower pace. One of the often-overlooked benefits of rising home prices is the positive impact they have on home equity. Let’s break down three ways this is a win for homeowners.
1. Move-Up Opportunity
With the rise in prices, homeowners naturally experience an increase in home equity. According to the Homeowner Equity Insights from CoreLogic,
“In the first quarter of 2019, the average homeowner gained approximately $6,400 in equity during the past year.”
This increase in profit means if homeowners decide to sell, they’ll be able to put their equity to work for them as they make plans to move up into their next home.
Posted by Dan Bennett on Tuesday, August 6, 2019 at 7:00 AMBy Dan Bennett / August 6, 2019Comment
Whether you’ve owned a home before, or you’re ready to jump into homeownership for the first time, there are always a lot of questions swirling around about what is truly required for a down payment, and how to best source down payment assistance. Let’s tackle these two today.
1. How much do you really need for a down payment?
There is a long-standing misconception about down payment requirements. A survey from Fannie Maeshows only 17% of consumers know the minimum options are actually between 1 - 5% of the purchase price and 40% don’t know how much they need at all.There are many mortgage loans available that require as little as 3% down for first-time buyers, and some ask for only 3.5% down from repeat buyers. There are even loans available for Veterans that provide...
Posted by Dan Bennett on Monday, August 5, 2019 at 7:00 AMBy Dan Bennett / August 5, 2019Comment
On his personal website, self-made millionaire David Bach makes a striking statement:
“Not prioritizing homeownership is the single biggest mistake millennials are making.”
He further stated, “Buying a home is an escalator to wealth.”
“Young adults in particular aren’t hopping on this escalator, and it’s a costly mistake…If millennials don’t buy a home, their chances of actually having any wealth in this country are little to none.”
He then elaborates on the game of homeownership:
“Start by crunching the numbers…actually do the math...This way, you’re really clear on your goals and you won’t just say to yourself, ‘I’ll never afford this!'
A good rule of thumb is to make sure your total monthly housing payment doesn’t consume more than 30 percent of your take-home pay.”
Bach concludes by saying,
“Oftentimes, buying your first home means you’re not buying your dream...
Posted by Dan Bennett on Thursday, July 25, 2019 at 7:00 AMBy Dan Bennett / July 25, 2019Comment
Whether you are a first-time buyer or looking to move up to the home of your dreams, now is a great time to purchase a home. Here are three major reasons to buy today.
Many people focus solely on price when talking about home affordability. Since home prices have appreciated throughout the past year, they assume homes are less affordable. However, affordability is determined by three components:
Mortgage Interest Rate
Prices are up, but so are wages - and interest rates have recently dropped dramatically (see #2 below). As a result, the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) latest Affordability Index report revealed that homes are MORE affordable throughout the country today than they were a year ago.
“All four regions saw an increase in affordability from a year ago. The South had the biggest gain in affordability of 6.9%, followed by the West with a gain of 6.0%. The Midwest had an increase of 5.8%, followed by the Northeast with the smallest gain of 1.8%.”
Posted by Dan Bennett on Monday, July 22, 2019 at 7:00 AMBy Dan Bennett / July 22, 2019Comment
If you’re currently renting and have dreams of owning your own home, it may be a good time to think about your next move. With rent costs rising annually and many helpful down payment assistance programs available, homeownership may be closer than you realize.
Ralph McLaughlin, CoreLogic’s Deputy Chief Economist and author of the report, explained his findings at the recent National Association of Real Estate Editors conference in Austin:
“Investor buying activity in the U.S. is at record highs. And our records go back confidently, about 20 years…
What’s going on and why? Well, it turns out, it’s not the big institutional guys that are leading the increase in home buying. It’s actually the smaller guys. It’s those that have bought between one and ten properties over this 20-year period, they’re the ones that...
Posted by Dan Bennett on Tuesday, July 16, 2019 at 7:00 AMBy Dan Bennett / July 16, 2019Comment
With the recent lower interest rates, many homeowners are wondering if they should refinance.
To decide if refinancing is the best option for your family, start by asking yourself these questions:
Why do you want to refinance?
There are many reasons to refinance, but here are three of the most common ones:
Lower your interest rate and payment – This is the most popular reason. If you have a 5% interest rate or higher, it might be worth seeing if you can take advantage of the current lower interest rates, hovering below 4%, to reduce your monthly payment and overall cost of the loan.
Shorten the term of your loan – If you have a 30-year loan, it may be advantageous to change it to a 15 or 20-year loan to pay off your mortgage sooner.
Cash-out refinance – With home prices increasing, you might have enough equity to cash out and invest in something else, like your children’s education, a vacation home, or a new business.
Once you know why you might want to refinance, ask yourself the next question:
How much is it going to cost?
There are fees and closing costs involved in refinancing, and Lenders Network...