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Navigating the 2017 Real Estate Market

A combination of factors is making the 2017 real estate environment a “seller’s market.” Limited housing inventories, rising interest rates and a stringent financial regulatory atmosphere are some of the challenges facing homebuyers. According to Redfin, in the past year, 57% of realtors have been involved in a sale with at least 10 offers on a single property. And, only 2% of realtors have NOT experienced a bidding war in the last year.

As a potential buyer in this difficult environment, you must differentiate yourself to edge out the competition. Keep these tips in mind as you start the home…


Home Equity Financing 101

Thinking of consolidating debt? Need to fund a college education? Entertaining a home improvement project? Looking to finance a “bucket list” vacation? If you are a homeowner, the financial resource may literally be all around you – home equity financing allows the applicant to borrow against the equity of their home by using the house as collateral to obtain a home equity loan or line of credit.

What’s the Difference? HELOAN vs. HELOC

Both a home equity loan and line of credit are useful, but are also very different. A home equity loan (HELOAN) is a fixed rate product with a…


How Impactful is Good Credit When Buying a Home?

The home buying process can often be surprising for first-time buyers. One thing that comes as a shock, even in this era of free online credit reports, is the direct impact credit scores can have on the cost of financing. There are several approaches to calculating a credit score. It is important to know that those used by mortgage lenders are often the most comprehensive. That is because mortgage lenders have a fiduciary duty to ensure a borrower has the ability and willingness to repay what, for many, will be the largest financial obligation of their lives.

So, how much…


Building a Home? Tips to Maintain Your Credit

Dreaming of building a new home? One of the first steps in the process should be speaking with a lender about mortgage pre-qualification. This preliminary conversation will be highly educational and will help you to choose the financing that is right for your situation.

During the pre-qualification process, your lender will review your credit report, but it will likely be many months before you are ready to move into your new home. Here are three tips to keep your credit on track during the building process:

Maintain your typical financial habits. If your credit score is in a healthy range at…


Time to Buy? Consider the Fed and Interest Rates

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve meets to discuss economic policy on about eight pre-set dates throughout the year (roughly every 5-8 weeks). This board determines benchmark interest rates that ultimately impact consumer rates. At the last meeting in September, the Federal Reserve decided to leave interest rates unchanged.

In all but one of the last 23 Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) sessions, interest rates have remained unchanged. At year-end 2015, the Fed imposed a .25 basis point increase while optimistically forecasting subsequent rate hikes. However, the Fed altered its tone just 60 days later (in February 2016,…


Navigating the Home Buying Process

If you’re new to the home buying market or haven’t gone through the process recently you may be in for a surprise at how challenging it can be these days, especially if, like most of us, you need to obtain a mortgage. Looking back over the past 20 years or so, there have been significant changes in the mortgage industry.

In the early 90’s most mortgage loan applications required full underwriting which meant documenting and proving a borrower’s ability and willingness to repay an obligation by verifying income, assets, credit profile and the subject property’s value/condition. Then things began to…


To Buy or To Rent – That is the Question

Many people are faced with the rent vs. own conundrum, and while the choice between both involves careful consideration, the rewards of homeownership are great. Among the multiple benefits of ownership are: privacy, sense of pride, financial stability, investment and equity, and even potential tax advantages.

In many instances, rental rates today actually exceed monthly mortgage payments. Rental units offer no equity and are subject to increasing rates dictated by a landlord or management company. In contrast, even with real estate taxes and insurance expenses, the overall monthly housing obligation frequently provides the best bang for the buck – more…


Housing our Heroes – the VA Insured Home Loan

To those who have served in our military in any capacity, we say a huge thank you.  To help where we can, Univest offers VA insured home loans. For those with VA eligibility, we can finance up to 100% of the purchase price of a home, up to $417,000 (as of April 2016 – higher limits may be available in certain areas). With generous qualifying ratios and no monthly mortgage insurance premiums, a VA loan is often the best choice for a veteran borrower. There are also refinance programs available for current VA borrowers.

VA home loans do require an…


Why a Fixer Upper Might Be Right for You

Are you in the market for buying a home and struggling to find the right one in the perfect location?  You may want to consider buying a home that you can renovate to meet your wants and needs. While some cringe at the thought of buying a house that needs to be renovated, others see a chance to get a great deal on a house they can customize and make their own. For those willing to take on the added time and effort of renovation, the rewards can be great.

So why consider a fixer upper?

  • Reduced cost – this is…

Stay Local for Your Home Loan

Spring is almost here, and with it, home buying season! Acquiring the right mortgage for either a home purchase or the refinancing of an existing mortgage is likely one of the largest financial decisions you will have to make. While the Internet is valuable for researching information on home financing, it should be used for just that, research. After gathering information, you will want to work with a local, reputable lender who can validate your research and guide you through the mortgage pre-qualification process.

Knowing how much you can afford and how much you can borrow is an important step…

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