Larry Costa REALTOR®'s Blog
Buying a home should be a fun, exciting experience, one that ends with you moving into your dream residence. However, problems sometimes can arise that prevent you from accomplishing your ultimate goal.
No homebuyer should be left in the dark, especially when it comes to navigating a competitive real estate market. Lucky for you, we're here to help you kick off your homebuying journey on the right foot.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you launch a successful homebuying journey.
1. Know Your Homebuying Budget
You know that you'd like to buy a house, but how much can you afford to pay for a residence? With a homebuying budget in place, you can determine exactly what you can afford.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage enables you to enter the real estate market with a budget in hand. Many credit unions and banks are available nationwide, and each lender is happy to provide details about a wide range of mortgage options. That way, you can select a mortgage that matches your finances perfectly.
Also, don't forget to consider the costs of utilities when you budget for a home. And if you need to commute to work or school, you may want to consider your transportation expenses as well.
2. Examine the Housing Market
The housing market usually features a large collection of high-quality houses. Take a look at some of the houses that are currently available, and you can better plan for your homebuying journey.
For example, if there is an abundance of homes available in a city or town where you'd like to live, now may prove to be the ideal time to enter the real estate market. The sheer volume of residences indicates a buyer's market may be in place, so you might be able to boost your chances of acquiring an exceptional house at a budget-friendly price.
On the other hand, if homes are selling quickly in a particular area, it likely means a seller's market is in place. As such, you will need to be aggressive if you want to secure your dream residence at an affordable price.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
The homebuying journey can be daunting, particularly for those who are interested in purchasing a house for the first time. Fortunately, a real estate agent can help you seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey.
A real estate agent possesses comprehensive housing market experience. He or she can share real estate insights with you to ensure you can purchase a great house that meets or exceeds your expectations.
Furthermore, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about new properties, set up home showings and negotiate with home sellers on your behalf. And if you ever have concerns or questions, a real estate agent can respond to them immediately.
Ready to make your homeownership dreams come true? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can enter the real estate market as an informed homebuyer.
There is no need to struggle as you pursue your dream home. In fact, there are many things you can do to ensure the homebuying journey is quick and easy.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you enjoy a seamless property buying experience.
1. Know Where You Want to Reside
It often helps to narrow a home search to a small group of cities and towns. That way, you can focus exclusively on residences in a set area and speed up your house search.
As you consider where you want to live, it generally is a good idea to review your short- and long-term plans. For example, if you intend to return to school soon, you may want to search for houses near some of the nation's top colleges and universities. On the other hand, if you want to start a family, you may want to focus on homes close to parks and other family-friendly attractions.
2. Establish a Homebuying Budget
Most homebuyers will need to get a mortgage so they can acquire their dream residence. Fortunately, banks and credit unions are happy to teach you about home financing and help you make an informed mortgage selection.
Typically, banks and credit unions employ courteous, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who can educate you about all aspects of home financing. These specialists are ready to respond to your home financing concerns and questions and help you find a mortgage that suits you perfectly.
There is no such thing as a "bad" question to ask mortgage specialists, either. If you work with mortgage specialists to assess all of your home financing options, you can select a mortgage that will serve you well for the foreseeable future.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to searching for a home, you don't have to work alone. Thankfully, real estate agents are available throughout the country, and these housing market professionals can make it simple for you to acquire a great home at a budget-friendly price.
A real estate agent goes above and beyond the call of duty to make the property buying journey fast and easy. First, he or she will learn about you and your homebuying goals. This housing market professional next will craft a personalized homebuying strategy for you and put this plan into action. Then, after you discover your ideal residence, a real estate agent will do everything possible to help you acquire this home.
In addition, a real estate agent will work with you to finalize a home purchase. As a home closing date approaches, a real estate agent will help you plan accordingly. By doing so, he or she can help you purchase your dream residence without delay.
For those who want to enjoy a quick, easy homebuying journey, it helps to plan ahead. With the aforementioned tips, you can prepare for the homebuying journey and limit the risk of encountering various problems as you search for your ideal house.
As the workforce changes and a growing number of companies seek out contractors and freelancers, many Americans find themselves in a gray area when it comes to their income. They may put in full-time hours, but on their taxes they work for themselves.
Mortgage lenders are cautious about who they lend to. They want to make sure you are a low-risk investment who has reliable, predictable income to ensure that they’ll earn money off of your loan.
This can sometimes make it difficult for freelancers, contract workers, or the self-employed. Not only might your taxes be unconventional, but your income could vary depending on the time of the year and the amount of business you receive.
It’s easy to see why many people would be anxious about applying for a mortgage under these circumstances. However, if you’re self-employed, there’s no need to worry. You can still get approved for a mortgage at a fair interest rate--you just need to do a bit of work to provide the right documents to your lender.
In this article, we’ll show you what documents and proof of income you’ll likely need and how to present it to a lender to make the process run as smoothly as possible to get you approved for your mortgage. Here’s what you need to do.
Organize your records
Before applying for a mortgage, it’s a good idea to take a look at your record-keeping process. As a self-employed worker, you’re probably already used to tracking your own income. However, this will help the lender analyze your income easier and move the process along more quickly.
Having a master spreadsheet of your dated invoices, paid amounts, and the names of your clients is a good place to start. You’ll also want detailed, easy to read information for your previous employers, landlords, references, and any other information you think will be pertinent.
Next, gather your tax documents for the last three to five years. As a self-employed worker, you likely file a Schedule C (Form 1040) and a Schedule SE. Make sure you have copies of these forms.
Dealing with deductions
Many self-employed workers write off business expenses in their tax returns. Travel expenses, internet, and other costs associated with doing business are all ways to save by reducing your taxable income. Doing so can save you money, but it can also reduce your net income which is what lenders will see when you provide them with your information.
If you’re hoping to get approved for a bigger loan, one solution is to plan your taxes in the year prior to applying for a mortgage. Make fewer deductions than you normally would to increase your net income.
Be ready to clarify
When a mortgage lender is reviewing your information, make sure you are open and available to provide any information that can be helpful to them in considering your application. Being prompt and accurate with your responses will signal to your lender that you are willing to work with them.
Personal financial in your twenties comes with a steep learning curve. One minute you’re studying for your finals and the next you’re expected to suddenly know about APR financing, 401(K)s, and fixed-rate mortgages.
If you’re in your twenties and are facing these new challenges, you’re probably equal parts terrified and excited for the future. And, although it can be anxiety-inducing to step into the world of personal finance, you have one tool to your advantage that your parents and grandparents didn’t have: the internet.
So, in this article, we’re going to give you some tips about buying a home and managing your finances in your twenties.
Have an emergency fund
You probably have a lot of things you want to save for. Down payments on mortgages and auto loans, saving money for traveling, beginning your retirement funds, and maybe even starting a family; they’re all important investments that will take time and financial planning to achieve.
However, one thing that many young people neglect when they first start saving is an emergency fund. There are any number of things that can throw a wrench in your plans in your twenties. You might lose a job and have to live off of savings while hunting for a new one. Maybe something goes wrong with your car and it costs hundreds to repair. Or, you could have unforeseen medical expenses that aren’t covered by your insurance. Regardless of the reason, having an emergency fund will help you stay out of unnecessary debt.
It’s recommended to have at least 6 months of living expenses saved in your emergency fund. Once you have this amount saved, it’s a good idea to keep it in a separate account to avoid spending it on things that aren’t exactly an emergency.
Don’t live above your means
We all know that buying a house, going to college, and even buying groceries are all exponentially more expensive than they used to be. However, it’s still important to try to adjust your lifestyle to the things you can afford.
This includes the vehicle you drive, the first home you buy, and even smaller purchases you make.
Avoiding lifestyle creep
Related to our last point about living above your means, lifestyle creep is the phenomenon that occurs when you get a raise or a higher paying job: the more we make, the more we spend. However, it’s possible to avoid this trend by keeping your finances in check.
The next time you get a raise, make sure that money is put to use in either your retirement fund or savings account. This method is based on the goal of “giving every dollar a job.” When every dollar you earn has a purpose, you’re less likely to spend it on new video game consoles every six months.
Dotting the I's and crossing the T's on a home loan application may seem like a daunting task, regardless of whether you're a first-time or experienced homebuyer. However, those who know what to expect when they fill out a home loan application may be better equipped than others to obtain a home loan that matches or exceeds their expectations.
When it comes time to fill out a home loan application, you'll need to provide a variety of information, including:
1. Personal Information
Allocate the necessary time and resources to provide as much personal information as possible on your home loan application. That way, you can make it easy for a lender to create a file for all of your home loan information.
Typically, your lender will ask for your Social Security number, date of birth, current housing information and school information. Provide accurate personal information at all times, and if you're uncertain about how to answer certain questions, consult with a home loan expert for additional support.
2. Employment Information
Where have you worked, and how much have you earned while you've worked for various companies in the past? As you complete your home loan application, you'll need to provide employment information to verify your current and past employment and income.
Usually, a lender will want you to provide the names, addresses and telephone numbers for any employers over the past two years. This will allow a lender to verify employment as part of the home loan application process.
You also will need to offer copies of your two most recent pay stubs to a lender. This will enable the lender to confirm your current income.
Lastly, if you are self-employed, you likely will need to provide a lender with a profit and loss statement for the past two years.
3. Financial Information
Tax forms, bank account information and asset details are some of the key parts of the financial information section of a home loan application.
Ultimately, the financial information section helps a lender verify if you have any outstanding credit lines, rental property and much more. This information will help a lender make an informed decision about your loan application and determine how much you are eligible to receive toward the purchase of a new house.
If you ever have questions at any stage of the home loan application process, don't hesitate to reach out to a home loan expert for help. This professional will be able to offer comprehensive insights to help you complete a timely, accurate home loan application.
In addition, your real estate agent may be able to put you in touch with various lenders in your area. With this housing market professional at your side, you can learn about different lenders and find one that can help you get the right home loan.
Finalizing a home loan application may seem like an uphill struggle. But if you act as a diligent homebuyer, you should have no trouble reviewing all sections of a home loan application. And as a result, you can provide a lender with relevant information and boost your chances of getting the perfect home loan.