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Posted by John Boey on 7/7/2019

Owning a home is a big part of the American Dream. In fact, it’s such a part of American life that entire television networks devote hours of airtime to buying, selling, and renovating homes to riveted audiences across the country. So surely, owning a home is a good thing. Right? It all depends. 

Is owning a home right for you? Again, it all depends.

As with many things in life, timing can be everything. It may be right for you to own a home, but it may not be the right time for you to buy one. Before you rush out and engage a real estate agent, take a moment or two to determine these things:

  • What is your debt load? While you can carry debt and still buy a home, the kinds of debt and the amount you carry may impact the interest rate you get and the amount of loan for which you qualify.
  • Do you know your credit score? If your score is low, your getting approved for a good loan is harder. Sometimes things affect your score that you have no control over, like medical bills and even fraud or identity theft. Being aware of your score and any issues with it gives you a starting point toward improving it. If you don’t know your credit score, get your free credit report (you're entitled to one free credit report each year from all of the three major credit reporting agencies) to check for errors and problems.
  • What does your savings account look like? The down payment on a house is a huge chunk of change, and even if you qualify for an FHA or VA loan, the closing costs, insurance, taxes, and potential repairs run in the thousands.
  • Can you afford the house payment? Often, renters hear the statement “you’re just pouring money down a rabbit hole” and think that if they buy, they’ll pay the same but start building equity too. That is “sort of” true, but ownership comes with a lot of other costs in addition to principal and interest on your mortgage: homeowner’s insurance, homeowners’ association (HOA) dues, all utilities including water, sewer and trash, property taxes, and special municipal assessments. Can you afford all of these?
  • Are you handy? As a homeowner, you can’t just call the landlord when things go wrong. You are the landlord. So, if you can’t fix the toilet yourself, you have to hire a plumber. If the oven quits working or the dishwasher breaks, you have to repair or replace it yourself.
  • Does it make sense? Buying a forever home means you plan to live in it for a very long time, but if you're just in the early stages of your career, or have just started a family, buying a home may not make sense. Even if you're able to sell it quickly if you end up moving, you may not recoup the entire down payment, fees, closing costs, and money on repairs that you spent to purchase it.

If you need help assessing if you’re ready to buy, talk to a real estate professional or seek the advice of a mortgage specialist.





Posted by John Boey on 4/28/2019

First-time homebuyers are prone to making a lot of mistakes when it comes to picking a home, due to many reasons—one of which is just plain old inexperience. If you plan to buy your first home soon, these are a few things you want to avoid.

  1. Not having a budget. It might surprise you to know but a lot of first time home buyers don’t have a spending budget before they start looking. Or sometimes, they look at houses that are way over what they can afford and end up spelling more money than they ought to. It's always better to clearly define what you are willing to spend on the new house and stick with it. That way you have a more comprehensive search scope that you can share with your realtor.
  2. Being overly emotional. Sometimes you see a house that looks like the builder intentionally had you in mind. But sometimes it's better to put your emotions in check because it might reduce your bargaining power with the seller. Being too excited might even make you oblivious to specific reasons why the home may not be a good fit for you.
  3. Not factoring additional costs of renovations and home improvements. Having a budget and firmly sticking to it is not enough, you also have to take into consideration the costs of any home additions or repair work you think of doing. You want to change the lamp fixtures or faucets in the showers? Be prepared to spend a little more.
  4. Underestimating the costs of maintaining the home. Sure, you get to buy the house at a giveaway price but have you stopped to consider what it will cost you to keep the house in that condition? Lots of first time home buyers don't do this. Electricity bill, gas bill cable bills, and even homeowner association fees are things that any home buyer should consider before concluding on any deal.
  5. Not hiring an agent. Winging it on your own is probably the most common mistake first-time buyers make. In a bid to save some money, they neglect to hire an agent of their own and choose to work directly with the seller or even worse, the seller’s agent themselves. More likely than not, what’s going to happen is a novice buyer who finds himself outclassed by an experienced salesperson.

Whatever you do, avoid these mistakes by contacting a real estate professional in your area.





Posted by John Boey on 3/3/2019

Are you thinking about buying your first home but completely overwhelmed with where to even begin?

Buying your first home is a big, and exciting, decision. It’s also one that comes with a big learning curve you need to get down quickly.

There are many steps to the process and even though your agent is always here to help you and give advice it’s critical you do your own research. You want to be able to take action quickly when you find your dream home. To do this you will need to be able to keep up with the process by having everything done neatly, orderly and on time.

So where to start?

Start here:

Start by sitting down with your budget. What do your current finances look like? What sort of wiggle room for spending do you have? What can you afford for a monthly mortgage payment?

And perhaps more importantly, do you have enough saved to cover a down payment and closing costs? Depending on which programs you qualify for you don’t necessarily have to put the traditional 20% down. With that said, you should know how much you would need to put down and if you have money in the bank to cover those costs.

Smooth out any credit snags. Your credit score doesn’t need to be out of this world, but it should reflect that you are actively improving and financially responsible.

Find a mortgage professional you trust to help you make the right moves throughout the process. Again, you want to be able to take action quickly once you find a home you love. And you don’t want to miss out because your mortgage professional hasn’t prioritized you.

You will also want to have a preapproval prepared, with the help of your mortgage professional, when you are ready to start looking at houses. Having a pre-approval in hand shows your agent that you are serious about this process.

Calculate the costs. Yes, more math! You will want to take into consideration real estate taxes, HOA fees, home repairs and maintenance as you refine your budget to see which homes make the most sense for your lifestyle.

When looking at homes focus on the “bones” of the house. Look past paint, hideous wallpaper and yes even the granite countertops. Are there enough bedrooms? Bathrooms? A laundry room? Is there enough garage space and driveway? Do you like the floor plan? The neighborhood?

Know what’s important to you. In an ideal world, you will find a home that ticks off every item on your wishlist. And not to say that it’s entirely impossible, but know which items on your list are negotiable. Which are you willing to budge on and which are make or break?







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