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Posts tagged ‘buying a home’

7 Tips for Buying in a Down Market

It’s very important that you know the difference between avoiding an impulse buy and jumping on a great deal. Knowing the difference could save you thousands of dollars in the end.

I found some great tips from Investopedia that will help guide you through the appropriate steps to take when looking to buy a home in this down market.

  1. Do Your Homework
    Search the internet and local newspapers for listings. Inquire with a real estate
    agent to help you narrow down your options. Your main goal is to get to know
    the price range for the area you are looking to live in. Get a sense of what a
    “low price” is for that neighborhood.
  2. Get Your Ducks in a Row
    Make sure to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you even start the house hunt.
    There’s no sense in falling in love with a property you can’t afford or
    settling for something you THINK is all you can afford when really you can get
    approved for more.
  3. Watch for Motivated Sellers
    If the home has been on the market for awhile, chances are the seller is going to
    want to get rid of the house as soon as possible. Upon finding a property in
    this situation, ask the seller to cover closing costs or make some upgrades.
    Never be afraid to offer lower than the listing price either.
  4. Negotiate with a Realtor
    Be sure to ask your real estate agent to reduce the cost of the home. While houses
    are selling at a slow pace, many realtors are struggling. Both agents and firms
    may be more inclined to knock a percentage or two off their commission to close
    a deal.
  5. Make Sure you have a Clear Title
    To avoid inheriting any liabilities, have a title insurance company perform a
    title search to make sure there are no liens on the property and that it can be
    transferred.
  6. Avoid a Bidding War
    Do not let your emotions get the best of you. We are in a down market, which is
    all about getting a good deal, so if you are in a bidding war, set a price
    limit and stick to it. There are plenty of homes out there!
  7. Don’t be Afraid to Walk Away
    There are always many choices in a down market so keep that in mind. If you are not
    getting the deal you feel you deserve, do not be afraid to walk away and look
    at other homes out there.

I hope these tips help you in your home buying process! If you have any questions or are looking for advice, please feel free to contact me directly and I would be more than happy to help you!

-Cheryl

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Buy a home without help from Mom and Dad!

I came across a great article today for first-time homebuyers called “How to buy a home without cash from your parents” and wanted to share some
of the great advice they gave.

Throughout my years in the real estate industry, I have come across many cases where first-time homebuyers have relied on parents and grandparents to help with a down payment and closing costs. In today’s economy, many families are finding it very difficult to make their mortgage payment and cannot even consider helping out their child/grandchild purchase their first home.

So what are the first-time homebuyers to do? Wait until the economy improves and everyone is back on their feet so they can go ask Mom and Dad? I don’t think so.

There’s a combination of ways to save and be able to get into your very first home. Take a look at these options below from Marcie Geffner of Bankrate.com.

Many first-time homebuyers traditionally have relied on parents and grandparents to help with a down payment and closing costs. But today, many older people aren’t in a financial position to offer this assistance to younger family members.

How can would-be buyers afford their first house or condominium on their own? For many buyers, the answer involves a combination of personal savings, a
low-down-payment loan with mortgage insurance, seller-paid closing costs or a first-time homebuyer down-payment assistance program.

Down payment help
It’s okay if you aren’t in a position to save thousands of dollars for a down payment. There are many loan programs out there that allow a small down payment
to make things less stressful.

Check into FHA loans and PMI. I can sit down with you and discuss the difference in this options and together we will find what type of loan best suits your
situation.

First-time buyer tips
If you get help from family or don’t get help, your first step should always be to meet with a lender to find out exactly how much you can borrow. There’s no
sense house-hunting only to find out you can’t afford the properties you were looking at.  This way you know the figure you should be looking at and can plan and search accordingly.

-Cheryl

Buying and Selling When It’s Hot

It’s heating up outside so how do we maximize our buying/selling results in the heat? Here are 5 Summer Real Estate Tips from Jamey Wolbert that will help us attack the summer season. There are typically more active buyers and sellers during the summer months. Here are some tips and trends to make your summer season the most effective.

1. Sellers: Don’t Forget the Outside

During summer, landscaping and outdoor space are especially important aspects of your home sale. Maximize the space by keeping the exterior clean, organized, and inviting. Pressure washing, lawn care, and other regular maintenance tasks can do wonders for your bottom line.

2. Buyers: Don’t Forget the Inside

It can be easy to get swept away by a great fenced lawn, pool, deck, and other exterior features, especially when you are house hunting at the peak of summer. But don’t let visions of outdoor relaxation and entertaining distract you from other essential home features or sway you into overlooking interior concerns.

3. Sellers: Know Your Competition

With more houses on the market, knowing what you are up against is key. Being aware of other homes for sale in your neighborhood can help you define your home’s own weaknesses and strengths. Reviewing information on area listings can also help ensure that you price your home right.

4. Buyers: Remember Your Goals

When a surge of homes come on the market at the start of summer, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by all of the options. Don’t lose sight of the features that are most important to you, and try to set reasonable expectations that suit your budget, lifestyle, and overall needs.

5. Everybody: Don’t Get Squeezed by the Season

Even though summer is a prime time for buyers and sellers, don’t let the seasonal time frame become an added stress during your house hunt or home sale. Both buyers and sellers can find success throughout the year!

If you have questions or are looking for more tips, feel free to contact me directly!

Happy Summer!!

Cheryl

What do you need to know about manufactured homes?

A current “hot” trend in housing alternatives is the purchasing of manufactured homes. One in seven new homes sold in the past year were made in factories and transported to their permanent site. Close to 10% of theU.S.population now live in manufactured homes.

Since 90% of manufactured homes are purchased with borrowed money, there are some critical factors to consider when financing. Most buyers must finance their manufactured homes as “private property”- like purchasing a small plane or boat. The down side to this situation is that interest rates will be higher if your home is titled and taxed as personal property rather than real estate. Many dealers will finance manufactured homes, but you can go competitive loan shopping. It is to your advantage if you plan to place your home on your own land or a lot with a long-term lease.  On a positive note, Freddie Mac, a government-sponsored organization, began buying loans on manufactured homes classified as titled real estate. Many states are changing policies and defining manufactured housing as real estate rather than personal property. If you own your land, you can now get a good loan rate with an affordable down payment.

Manufactured homes were once commonly called “mobile homes” but they are usually residential dwellings that are moved to a permanent location. They are built on solid foundations – using concrete blocks, poured concrete pads and brick masonry. You can even get manufactured homes with outside entrance basements as an option! With shingled roofs, bay windows and expansive front porches, it is hard to tell manufactured homes from the regular “stick built” versions. 

To learn more about manufactured homes, feel free to contact me directly.

Cheryl

Four Reasons to Buy a Home Now!

Thinking about buying a home but not too sure? The KCM Group  gives us four great reasons as to why NOW is the time to buy! Take a look…

1. Interest Rates Are Increasing
Interest rates have increased almost 3/4 of a point in the last six months. Most experts expect rates to continue to increase through the year. Interest rates along with price determine the overall cost of a home. Even with prices softening, if interest rates rise, it may be less expensive to buy now rather than wait.

2. The 30-Year Mortgage May Disappear
There has been much debate regarding government’s role in providing support for homeownership. There are several experts who believe If Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s roles are eliminated, or even limited, it may be the end to the 30-year mortgage.

3. QRM Requirements Could Be Much More Stringent
Here are proposed changes to the requirements for a ‘qualified residential mortgage’:
• Certain mortgage types would be eliminated
• You would need to put a minimum of 20% down
• You would need a minimum 690 FICO score
• The ratios of income to both the mortgage payment and overall debt would become much more conservative (28% and 36%)

There would be loans available to purchasers who don’t qualify under the new rules. However, they will probably be more expensive to the buyer (both in rate and costs).

4. Rents Are Expected to Increase
The supply of available rentals is decreasing and the demand is increasing. That will lead to an increase in rental costs throughout the year. The Wall Street Journal this week quoted a report by Reis, Inc: “Expect vacancies to continue declining, and rents rising through the rest of 2011 at an even faster pace.” You may be waiting on the sidelines to see if prices will continue to depreciate before you purchase a home. The mortgage expense is a major piece in the overall financial picture of homeownership. Make sure you consider it when timing your decision.

Cheryl