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Financing Options for the First-time Homebuyer

We have so much information at our fingertips thanks to technology, but there are still many misconceptions about residential mortgage financing for the first-time homebuyer. Most prevalent is that consumers need a significant amount of cash available to make their first home purchase. There is also a lot of misinformation about credit, debt and qualifying.

Let’s begin with the definition of a first-time homebuyer (FTHB). As counter-intuitive as it may seem, the FTHB as defined by most of the residential mortgage agencies is, “an individual who has not held an ownership interest in a residential property within the last three…


Building Your Real Estate Portfolio? Don’t Get Scammed

Can you imagine going to close on the new building you’re purchasing to expand your business or an investment property to start your real estate portfolio only to learn that your down payment and/or closing funds have disappeared? It’s hard to imagine, but it’s happening now more than ever. Hackers are infiltrating just about every industry at an alarmingly fast rate and scams are now prevalent in the real estate industry targeting money being transferred during the closing process of a real estate transaction.

This type of scam is known as wire transfer fraud. While scammers use various methods like…


Buying a Home? Why You Need a Pre-Approval

Those searching for a home today will find that property inventory has cratered to a 30-year low and that there are often at least two other rival offers on every home. What can you do to make your proposal more attractive than your opposition?

While “cash is king,” most prospective buyers lack enough of it to waive financing, so most buyers are in need of a mortgage. With the limited inventory, most offers are at list price, or even over. As a result, many real estate offers have become essentially identical. How, then, does a seller distinguish their bid?

One of…


6 Tips for Saving for your Down Payment

Before you can make the transition from renting your home to owning your home, you will need to have a substantial down payment, typically 5 to 20 percent of the home’s value. Here are some tips to help save for it:

1. Develop a budget and timeline. Start by determining how much you’ll need for a down payment. Create a budget and calculate how much you can realistically save each month – that will help you gauge when you’ll be ready to transition from renter to homeowner.

2. Establish a separate savings account. Set up a separate savings account exclusively…


5 Important Questions When Choosing Your Home

Buying your own home can be exciting and frightening at the same time. Consider the following five questions when getting ready to buy:

1.    How much money do you have saved up?

Start with an evaluation of your financial health. Figure out how much money you have for a down payment. Down payments are typically 5 to 20 percent of the price of the home. But be sure to keep enough in savings for an emergency fund. It’s a good idea to have three to six months of living expenses saved to cover unexpected costs.

2.    How much debt do you have?

Consider all…


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,…

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