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Real Estate

Ask the Expert: Can a Home Inspection Help the Mortgage Process Along?

RisMedia - March 27, 2018 - 3:43pm

Today’s Ask the Expert column features Dan Steward, president of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors.

Q: Should sellers get a home inspection to help the mortgage process along?

A: If you’re a seller, it behooves you to get your own home inspection prior to putting your house on the market. But why spend money on one when the buyer will surely get their own?

Buyers that see a recent home inspection along with the listing sheet already realize that the asking price of the home is likely justified. They can rest assured that there are no scary surprises waiting for them upon closing. And you can hasten an offer by having that report right in front of serious buyers when they’re considering putting in an offer.

This also establishes a sense of trust between the buyer and the seller from the start. It shows the buyer that you care enough to get details and minor problems with the house detected and fixed before they even put in an offer.

If your home inspector shows you minor items that may come up in the buyer’s home inspection, you can have the issues looked at and repaired before the buyer even has their report done. You will have time for bids on a job instead of rushing to pay a higher price for the work, or, worse, having to deduct from the agreed upon price. In fact, you can show the report and a receipt proving the problem was already addressed by a licensed professional.

Having a good report readily available also shows the buyer that you’ve most likely been maintaining the property all along, which is another terrific plus when selling.

Mitigating risk is key when selling a home. Since laws regarding disclosures vary from state to state, for the most part, you as the seller are responsible even after a closing if something has been hidden or unreported to the buyer. Taking the time to have your own inspection will allow you to have repairs made for a cost that suits your budget, instead of having to deal with credits the buyer may ask for as the result of their home inspection. By getting a pre-inspection, you have proof that home maintenance issues, to the best of your knowledge, didn’t exist at the time of sale.

The only instance when it may not pay for a seller to proceed with a pre-inspection is when they’re selling a fixer-upper. In this case, the buyer already knows what to expect, and they should have a thorough home inspection completed before signing on the dotted line.

For more information, please visit www.pillartopost.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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Categories: Real Estate

6 Things You Must Do Before Buying a Home

RisMedia - March 27, 2018 - 3:37pm

(TNS)—Buying a home is a huge investment—probably the most significant purchase of your life. It’s not something you should do without preparation.

Before you start on the road to homeownership, make sure you are ready.

Improve your credit score.
A high credit score snags you the best deals. “Below 660 or 680, you’re either going to have to pay sizable fees or a higher down payment,” says Barry Zigas, director of Housing Policy for the Consumer Federation of America.

A score of 700 to 720 can get you a good deal, and 750 and above can garner the best rates on the market.

Pull your credit reports and make sure you’re not penalized for old, paid or settled debts.

Stop applying for new credit a year before you apply for a mortgage. Keep the moratorium in place until after you close on your home.

Figure out what you can afford.
There are various ways to determine how much house you can afford. If you’re using an FHA loan, your monthly payment can’t exceed 31 percent of your monthly income. The FHA will let you go higher under some circumstances.

For conventional loans, home expenses should not exceed 28 percent of your gross monthly income, says Susan Tiffany, retired director of Personal Finance Publications for adults for the Credit Union National Association, or CUNA.

Use Bankrate’s calculator to figure out how much house you can afford. Add to that other housing expenses, such as taxes, insurance and utilities. Then, bank the difference between that total and what you’re paying now.

Save for a down payment and closing costs.
You’ll need to save between 3 percent and 20 percent of the house price for a down payment. Your credit history and loan terms help determine how much you’ll need to come up with.

For example, with an FHA loan, the down payment requirement can be as low as 3.5 percent. You’ll need a credit score of at least 580. Home loans backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, require no down payment.

Another cash expense will be closing costs. The national average for closing costs for a $200,000 mortgage is $2,084, according to Bankrate’s latest survey.

If a big down payment is a hardship, look for down payment assistance. Search online using the city name, the county name and key word combinations such as “down payment assistance,” “first-time homebuyers” or “homebuyer’s assistance.”

Down payment assistance often is based on location or reserved for particular buyers, such as first-time buyers. In a buyer’s market, you can negotiate to have the seller pay a portion of the closing costs.

Build a healthy savings account.
Building up your savings—not just for a home—is very important. Your lender wants to know that you’re not living paycheck to paycheck. If you have three to five months’ worth of mortgage payments set aside, you’re a much better loan candidate. Some lenders and backers, like the FHA, will give you more latitude on other criteria if they see that you have a cash cushion.

That money will also help pay for maintenance and repairs of the home. Most repairs are sporadic, but big-ticket fixes such as a new roof or water heater can come up suddenly and drain your budget.

A good rule of thumb is to assume that you’ll spend 2.5 to 3 percent of your home’s value each year on upkeep and repairs. If you buy a $250,000 home, aim to save $520 to $625 per month.

Get preapproved for a mortgage.
Before you start house shopping, you should get your financing in place.

“The No. 1 thing is (homebuyers) better have everything in order,” says Dick Gaylord, of RE/MAX Real Estate Specialists in Long Beach, Calif., and a former president of the National Association of REALTORS®.

Gaylord says you should get a mortgage preapproval “before you walk through the first house.” Otherwise, “How do you know how much you can afford?”

Buy a house you like.
Short-term homeownership can be expensive, depending on how much you put down and what it cost you to sell your old house and move.

To get a home that will make you happy, don’t count on a quick purchase. Step back and make certain the house you’re considering is one that will fit the needs of you and your family.

©2018 Bankrate.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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Categories: Real Estate

Congratulations, 2018 Class of 30 Under 30

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 26, 2018 - 12:00am

Meet the 30 young real estate professionals chosen as this year's honorees, and find out who secured a guaranteed spot by winning the Web...

Categories: Real Estate

Market Challenges Dampen Buyers’ Hopes

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 26, 2018 - 12:00am

More consumers express anxiety about their ability to buy a home, save for a down payment, and qualify for a mortgage, according to NAR’s...

Categories: Real Estate

Court: REALTOR®-Owned MLS Can Limit Access

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 26, 2018 - 12:00am

A federal court ruled there’s nothing anti-competitive about a REALTOR® association-owned MLS requiring association membership as a...

Categories: Real Estate

NAR Introduces S.M.A.R.T. Initiatives

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 26, 2018 - 12:00am

The association is considering budget changes that would add $35 million in new programming to broaden its advocacy work and strengthen the...

Categories: Real Estate

Where Buyers Put Down the Most, Least

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 26, 2018 - 12:00am

In some markets, home buyers are bringing down payments to the closing table that are larger than the 20 percent industry benchmark. Find out...

Categories: Real Estate

Top Places for Rental Returns in 2018

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 26, 2018 - 12:00am

Investors who are in search of profits may want to target these markets this year, a new analysis shows. 

Categories: Real Estate

Buyers Have High Hopes for Spring

RisMedia Consumer News - March 25, 2018 - 12:04pm

Getting Equipped to Win

Buyers are flocking to the market this spring, with high hopes even as they face a frenzy of multiple-offer situations, according to new realtor.com® research.

Currently, inventory is down 8.5 percent year-over-year. In addition to the buyers out in droves for the first time, many have been on the hunt for a while. In fact, 40 percent of buyers have been looking for more than seven months; another 34 percent have been searching for four to six months. Moreover, 35 percent are anticipating “a lot” of competition this season.

“We’re only a few weeks into March and already seeing the market heat up,” says Danielle Hale, chief economist for realtor.com. “Holdover buyers hoping for greener pastures this spring are likely to find sparse options that require them to pay top-dollar or make other concessions.”

To combat competition, buyers are employing strategic tactics, like checking in daily on listing portals and getting notifications about prices, as well as above-asking offers and having a down payment higher than 20 percent.

“The majority of buyers are aware of the tough competition they’re up against this spring,” Hale says. “Having been in the market awhile, they’ve likely lost a few homes to better offers, which has given them more time to save and up their bidding strategies.”

Even against hurdles, buyers are optimistic—an impressive 60 percent believe they will close in the next six months, and 34 percent believe they will close in four to six months.

The data comes from more than 1,000 responses to a survey by Toluna.

For more information, please visit www.realtor.com.

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com. For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Buyers Have High Hopes for Spring appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

Flood Insurance Premiums Are About to Go Up

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 23, 2018 - 12:00am

An average 8 percent increase is part of a regularly scheduled change that is mandated by federal law.

Categories: Real Estate

Surprising Cities Millennial Buyers Are Eyeing

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 23, 2018 - 12:00am

More shoppers are bypassing high-priced coastal markets in favor of the Rust Belt and Midwest. 

Categories: Real Estate

Closing Timelines Were Shorter in February

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 23, 2018 - 12:00am

The average time to close on all loans decreased by two days in February, and Ellie Mae economists are calling the drop “significant....

Categories: Real Estate

California Agents Hailed for Wildfire Heroism

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 23, 2018 - 12:00am

California real estate pros have stepped up to help rebuild their communities after the Thomas Fires, arranging everything from...

Categories: Real Estate

Mortgage Rates Barely Budge This Week

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 23, 2018 - 12:00am

After last week’s first rate drop of the year, there wasn’t much fluctuation.

Categories: Real Estate

What’s Behind the National MLS Buzz?

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 22, 2018 - 12:00am

Agents across the country are getting emails and Facebook messages from a company called My State MLS offering discounted listing services. Learn...

Categories: Real Estate

‘Super Wood’ Could Be the Next Steel

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 22, 2018 - 12:00am

University of Maryland researchers announced they’ve created a way to make wood stronger, lighter, and cheaper than steel.

Categories: Real Estate

4 Real Estate Provisions in Spending Bill

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 22, 2018 - 12:00am

With six months remaining in the 2018 fiscal year, the National Association of REALTORS® urges the passage of the “omnibus...

Categories: Real Estate

Agent Robbed at Gunpoint During Open House

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 22, 2018 - 12:00am

The incident occurred last Saturday when a San Francisco real estate agent was prepping for a midday open house.

Categories: Real Estate

Gen Z Already Buying Homes

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 22, 2018 - 12:00am

There’s a newer group of home buyers in town, and they’re diving right into ownership.

Categories: Real Estate

Fed Raises Rates: What This Means for Mortgages

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 22, 2018 - 12:00am

The Federal Reserve voted Wednesday to up its short-term interest rates, which will likely have an influence on buyers’ borrowing costs...

Categories: Real Estate