Mary Crane's Blog
After you buy a house, it may be only a few weeks before your closing date arrives. At this point, you and the home seller will finalize your transaction. And if everything goes according to plan, you'll own a new home.
Getting to closing day, however, sometimes can be difficult. Lucky for you, we're here to help ensure you can enjoy a quick, seamless home closing.
Now, let's take a look at three steps to close on a home.
1. Complete Your Mortgage Application
A mortgage is a must-have for a homebuyer to close on a residence. Fortunately, it often can be simple to obtain a mortgage that matches or exceeds your expectations.
Consult with several local banks and credit unions. By doing so, you can learn about all of your mortgage options and select a mortgage that corresponds to your finances.
After you complete a mortgage application, a bank or credit union can provide you with mortgage options. Then, you can make an informed decision about which mortgage suits you perfectly.
2. Perform a Home Inspection and Appraisal
A home inspection is paramount, as this assessment will enable you to identify any underlying home problems and address them before closing day arrives.
During a home inspection, a property expert will assess your residence both inside and out. This expert also will provide an inspection report that details his or her findings.
Review the results of a home inspection report closely – you'll be glad you did. If you assess a home inspection report, you can review a home inspector's findings and determine whether you still want to purchase a house.
If you accept the inspection results and decide to move forward with a home purchase, an appraisal may follow.
Like a home inspection, an appraisal requires a property expert to visit your home. This expert will evaluate your home's interior and exterior, as well as comparable houses in your city or town. Following a home appraisal, you will receive a property valuation.
Oftentimes, a property valuation may match or exceed the price that you intend to pay for a house. If it does not, there may be instances in which you can still walk away from a home sale or ask the seller to lower a house's asking price.
3. Buy Home Insurance
Home insurance safeguards your residence and personal belongings against loss, damage or destruction. As such, it is essential to purchase home insurance before you close on a house. Because with home insurance in place, you'll be good to go to protect your house and personal belongings against myriad disasters.
The closing process can be long and complicated. But if you work with a real estate agent, you can receive plenty of support leading up to closing day. In fact, this housing market professional is happy to provide tips to ensure you can streamline the closing process.
Get ready for closing day – follow the aforementioned steps, and you can speed up the process of acquiring your dream house.
If you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future there are several financial prerequisites that you should aim to meet. Ideally, you’ll want a sizable down payment, a verifiable income history, and a good credit score.
It takes time to build credit. For most people, it can be several months or even years before they see a double-digit change in their credit score. However, if you have a low credit score and want to give it a quick boost, there are ways you can make a big difference.
But first, why should you focus on your credit score?
Credit scores and mortgages
When you apply for a mortgage there are several factors that your lender will take into consideration. One of their top concerns will be your credit score. This score is like a snapshot of your financial reliability. It tells lenders how much risk is involved in lending to you.
As a result, lenders will increase your interest rate if you are high risk and lower it if you are lower risk. To be a low risk homeowner, you’ll want your score to be in the high range, (usually 700 or above).
Credit change potential
Depending on your financial history, it can be more difficult to raise your score in a shorter period of time. If you are young, don’t have a long credit history, or haven’t had many bills to pay in your lifetime, your score will be more malleable than someone who has had low credit for years due to late payments.
In the United States, you have to be eighteen to open up a credit card or take out a loan by yourself (this is different from getting a loan co-signed by a parent or guardian). You can also ask your parents or guardians to add you as an authorized user of their credit cards. This will let you build credit without having to settle for the high interest rate credit cards you would be eligible for.
If you happen to have a low score (anywhere between 300 - 600), the good news is you can achieve a larger change over a shorter amount of time than someone who already has a high score.
So, how do you achieve that change?
One of the easiest ways to quickly improve your score is to check for errors in your credit report. You can get a free report each year from the three main credit bureaus--Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.
Look out for bills that have been mistakenly put under your name and for collections that shouldn’t be on your account.
Avoid new credit
One thing that can do short-term harm to your credit score is opening or attempting to open new lines of credit. That can be a store card, a loan, or getting your credit checked by a lender.
If you want to build credit quickly, making several inquiries could land you with a lower score than where you started.
Pay your regular expenses with credit
A good way to gain credit points in a few months is to pick a monthly expense to use your credit card for. Pay off your full balance at the end of each billing cycle to earn the most points while avoiding building up too much interest.
A home inspection is a crucial part of the homebuying process. At this point, a home inspector will walk through a house with you and examine the property inside and out. If a home inspector identifies underlying problems with a residence, these issues could put your purchase in jeopardy. On the other hand, if a home inspection reveals that there are no major problems with a residence, you may feel comfortable proceeding with a purchase.
Ultimately, how a homebuyer approaches a property inspection can have far-flung effects. For those who want to achieve the best-possible home inspection results, we're here to help you get ready for a house inspection.
Let's take a look at three tips to ensure you know exactly how to approach a house inspection.
1. Prepare for the Best- and Worst-Case Scenarios
Regardless of how a home inspection turns out, you need to be ready. That way, you'll have a plan in place to act quickly, even in the worst-case scenario.
In the best-case scenario after a house inspection, you likely will take a step forward in your quest to complete a home purchase. Conversely, in the worst-case scenario following a home inspection, you may rescind your offer to purchase a house and reenter the real estate market.
It also is important to remember that you can always walk away from a house sale if an inspection reveals there are significant problems with a residence. For a homebuyer, it is paramount to feel comfortable with a house after an inspection. If a home raises lots of red flags during an inspection, a buyer should have no trouble removing his or her offer to purchase a house.
2. Ask Plenty of Questions
A home inspector is a property expert who can provide insights into the condition of a residence. Thus, you should rely on this property expert as much as possible.
Don't hesitate to discuss a home with an inspector. Because if you ask lots of questions during a home inspection, you may be able to receive comprehensive property insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.
3. Analyze the Inspection Results Closely
Following a home inspection, you'll receive a report that details a property inspector's findings. Review this report closely, and if you have follow-up questions about it, reach out to the inspector that provided the report.
Lastly, as you look for ways to streamline the homebuying journey, you should work with a knowledgeable real estate agent. This housing market professional can put you in touch with the top home inspectors in your city or town. Plus, if you want to request home repairs or a reduced price on a house after an inspection, a real estate agent will negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf.
Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent provides at other points in the homebuying journey, either. If you ever have concerns or questions during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent will respond to them at your convenience.
Prepare for a home inspection, and you can use this evaluation to gain the insights you need to make an informed homebuying decision.
Buying your first home is probably one of the biggest purchases you’ll make in your life. But, it does come with its advantages. Among them are tax breaks and deductions that you can take advantage of to save money if you play your cards right.
In today’s post, I’m going to cover some of the tax breaks and deductions that first-time homeowners should seek out this tax season to help them lower their tax bill.
While earning points is a good thing on the basketball court, it can be a financial drain on a mortgage. Mortgage points are what buyers pay to the lender to secure their loan. They’re usually given as percentage points of the total loan amount.
If you pay these points with your closing costs, then they are deductible. Taxpayers who itemize deductions on their IRS Form 1040 can typically deduct all of the points they paid in a year, with the exception of some high-income taxpayers whose itemized deductions are limited.
If you’re one of the many people who made a down payment of less than 20% on your home, odds are that you’re going to be stuck with PMI, or private mortgage insurance, until you pay off at least 20% of the loan balance.
The good news is that homebuyers who purchased their home in the year 2007 and after can deduct their PMI premiums. However, the state on premium insurance deductibles is something that frequently comes up in Congress, so homeowners should ensure that these deductions are still valid when filing their taxes.
Mortgage interest accounts for the biggest deduction for the average homeowner. When you receive your Form 1098 from your lender, you can deduct the total amount of interest you’ve paid during the year.
Another deductible that shouldn’t be overlooked by first-time buyers is local property taxes. Save the records for any property taxes you pay so that you can deduct them during tax season.
Home energy tax credits
Some states are offering generous tax credits for homeowners who make home improvements that save energy. There are a number of improvements you might qualify for, including things like insulation and roofs, as well as photovoltaic (PV) solar panels.
Many first-time buyers withdraw from an IRA account to be able to make a larger down payment on their home or to pay for closing costs. In most other cases, withdrawing from an IRA will count as taxable income. However, if your IRA withdrawal is used toward a down payment or closing costs, the tax penalty is waived.
Keep these tax breaks and deductions in mind this tax season to help you save money and get a larger refund.
Let's face it – buying a home in a hot housing market is no easy task. For example, if you wait too long to submit an offer on a house, you risk losing this residence to a rival buyer. On the other hand, if you rush to submit a home offer at or above a seller's initial asking price, you risk spending too much to acquire your dream residence.
Clearly, there's a lot to think about as you search for a home in a hot housing market. Lucky for you, we're here to help you overcome myriad homebuying hurdles and acquire your dream residence, even in a hot housing market.
Let's take a look at three tips to help you succeed as a homebuyer in a hot housing market.
1. Narrow Your Home Search
You know that you want to live in a specific city or town, but you still are uncertain about what type of house that you want to purchase. However, if you create a list of home must-haves and wants, you can narrow your house search and speed up the homebuying process.
Once you have a homebuying checklist in hand, you should have no trouble evaluating residences in a hot housing market. Then, you can check out these houses in person and move one step closer to submitting an offer to purchase your dream house.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
To acquire a home in a hot housing market, you'll likely need a mortgage. Thankfully, lenders are available that can teach you everything you need to know about a wide range of mortgage options.
Lenders can explain the differences between adjustable- and fixed-rate mortgages, describe exactly how a mortgage works and much more. That way, you can assess many mortgage options and select one that matches your finances.
After you obtain a mortgage, you can enter a hot housing market with a homebuying budget. This will enable you to further accelerate your home search and ensure you can quickly submit an offer as soon as you discover your ideal residence.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
Navigating a hot housing market sometimes can be tricky, particularly for a homebuyer who is competing against dozens of rivals. But if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive comprehensive support as you pursue a home in a hot housing market.
A real estate agent is ready to assist you in any way possible. This housing market professional will offer insights into the real estate conditions in a particular city or town and help you map out your homebuying journey accordingly.
In addition, a real estate agent understands exactly what it takes to buy a residence in a hot housing market. He or she will help you put together a competitive offer on any home, at any time. And if your offer is rejected, a real estate agent will help you regroup and reenter a hot housing market so you can find your dream home.
Ready to buy a home in a hot housing market? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can accomplish your homebuying goals faster than ever before.