home inspection

The Big Day: Closing Day

The big day has come.

Homeowners insurance- check

Home inspection- check

Now comes the day you have been waiting for. The day you officially close on your home. If everything is in place, the day itself should be a breeze.

 

What exactly should you expect?

First and foremost, give yourself ample time and bring as much patience as you possibly can. One big mistake people make is not allowing enough time for the actual closing. Your lunch break may not actually be enough time to close.

Besides, if you give yourself a half day (or even a full day) for the closing, you can always take time to enjoy and celebrate your new purchase!

In addition to planning for the time out of your day, it is typically a good idea to schedule your closing close to the end of the month, but not right at the end of the month. That will allow for enough time to address any issues or concerns that may come up over the course of the closing.

Don’t be afraid to ask for a final walk through

Many buyers are often allowed to do one final walk through 24 hours before the closing. This will allow for you to see if any damage has been done to the house or property since you signed the contract. If there is something to note, this final walk through provides the opportunity to negotiate any necessary repairs.

 

There are a few things to bring to the table

It is extremely important to bring all the papers you have collected and accumulated over the home-buying process. That means the good faith estimate, the proof of homeowners insurance, contract, your inspection reports, and any other documents that you have sent to the bank as a proof of your mortgage.

Besides the piles of paperwork, there can also be a handful of people present at the closing. While the actual people required to be present can vary from state to state. The people involved can range from your attorney, the home seller, your mortgage lender, and, of course, you.

Yes- it is a big day

But that does not mean it needs to be stressful, chaotic, or have anything go wrong. Talk it over with your attorney (if you have one) and definitely your mortgage lender. All of the preparation will be worth it- so you can sit back, enjoy the experience, and take the keys to your new home.

 

 

Total Home Lending

 

 

Natasha Mason

The Big Day: Closing Day2020-09-28T15:14:20+00:00

So, You’re A 1st Time Home Buyer

Top Tips for First Time Home Buyers

You’re on the hunt for your first home. It is an exciting milestone in your life. Not to mention one of the largest financial decisions you may ever make. Don’t fall into the “rookie” home-buyer category. Our advice? The more you know about the process, the easier (and less daunting) it is going to be.

We are here to help. These are some of our “top tips” for you to remember when buying a home.

 

The (sometimes) forgotten credit score

The credit score. Your mortgage company, of course, will pull that score, but it is still a good number know before starting the home-buying process. If there are any mistakes or issues with your score, it is easier to remedy those before you have found that perfect home. Additionally, knowing your score in advance will allow you the opportunity to repair any minor blemishes. One more good thing to know- your mortgage banker (and us!) can sometimes provide tips on how to deal with those flaws.

 

Pre-approval letters are an absolute must

So, what is a pre-approval letter? It’s a letter from your mortgage lender stating what loan amount the borrower (you) is qualified for. So, yes, stating how large of a loan you are able to take out.

Now, why they are important? First and foremost, it allows you to look for homes that are in your price-range. It will save you a lot of time (and potentially a lot of stress) knowing what you can afford and searching accordingly. Then, when you do find a home you want to put an offer on, having that pre-approval letter puts you ahead of the game. While not a guarantee, sellers may take your offer more seriously since you have already been pre-approved for a loan. Not to mention, they may be more willing to lower the asking price, cover closing costs or make other allowances.

 

Down payments made easy

Whether you are a first time home-buyer or are looking to buy again, you have probably been thinking about that “down payment.” The larger down payment you make, the smaller mortgage you have. And, subsequently, the less you have to pay back over the course of the loan.

Is there such thing as “too big” of a down payment? Actually, yes! A 20% down payment is typically viewed as “ideal” by lenders. When you put 20% down, you don’t have to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) which provides insurance to your lender, in the chance you default on your mortgage. Additionally, it can qualify you for a lower interest rate than someone who makes a smaller down payment.

Realistically, however, 20% is a significant sum of money, especially depending on the house you are looking at. A lower down payment does allow you to become a homeowner faster because you won’t have to save up as much money before buying.

Whether you have the 20% readily available or not, there is one important fact to remember- making a down payment is never a bad investment. Putting money into your home is lower risk than, let’s say, investing it in the stock market. It is a good idea for any homebuyer because it ultimately reduces your risk and allows for immediate home equity. If you have questions or wonder what size down payment is best for you, we recommend discussing your particular situation with your lender. They can provide insight into your unique situation.

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Life happens- be prepared!

You’ve found the house. You’ve been approved for a loan. You’re good to go, right? One thing we always recommend is reserving cash for emergencies. Because, life happens! The last thing you want is to move into your new home and find yourself in dire need of money (and fast!). So, plan accordingly when making your down payment and considering your loan options. It’s better to be prepared!

 

Consider the resale

It’s your first home, you’re excited! You may not be planning to sell in the foreseeable future, but it is important to think about selling your home. If (or when) the time to sell your home comes, will it be easy or difficult to do so? Thinking about the preferences of the “average” homebuyer and keeping those preferences in mind while finding your own home will make reselling the home that much easier.

One huge factor is the school district. Maybe you don’t have children in your home right now, so you’re not thinking about schools. But finding a home in a desirable school district, or even one with a school of choice nearby, could be an added benefit for the resale of your home.

 

Full disclosure and home inspections

While most states do require sellers to disclose any potential problems with the home or the property, they may not always be aware of existing structural issues. Although most purchase agreements are dependent upon a home inspection, you should 100% demand one. Spending the money to hire a licensed professional to inspect your potential new home is the only way to guarantee there are no major structural issues with the home.

What will a comprehensive inspection include? Heating and cooling systems, plumbing and electrical systems, structural integrity of walls, floors, ceilings, foundation and roof. The condition of gutters, insulation, ventilation, major appliances, garage… Finding an issue with any of these things can be extremely costly, so discovering them before signing any paperwork is a huge money saver.

You should also be present for the inspection. Ask questions as you go through the house. Sure, houses need repairs, but there may be a chance the problems with the house will be so expensive it is no longer a home you are interested in. It may seem like a lot of money now to pay for a home inspection, but you could ultimately be saving yourself thousands in the future if the house does have major issues.

 

The hidden costs

Buying a home can feel like a whirlwind. But while you are thinking about a down payment, an affordable monthly mortgage payment and even realator costs, there are a few “hidden” costs that many first time home buyers forget about. Homeowners insurance, property taxes, appraisal fees, moving costs, escrow costs, tax service fee, credit report fee… Just to name a few.

Ask questions. Make sure you are aware of any and all fees, taxes and additional costs you may need to pay before the “buying” process is complete. And, finally, be prepared for just about anything. When it comes to owning your own home, there’s nothing wrong with being a little “over-prepared.”

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By Natasha Mason

So, You’re A 1st Time Home Buyer2020-09-28T15:14:21+00:00
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