fbpx
0 Items

Things To Avoid After Applying for a Mortgage [INFOGRAPHIC]

Things To Avoid After Applying for a Mortgage [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights

  • There are a few key things you’ll want to avoid after applying for a mortgage to make sure you’re in the best position when you get to the closing table.
  • Don’t change bank accounts, apply for new credit, make any large purchases or transfers, and don’t co-sign loans for anyone.
  • Here’s a good rule of thumb. Always connect with your loan officer before making any financial decisions once you’ve started the mortgage process.
The Difference Between an Inspection and an Appraisal

The Difference Between an Inspection and an Appraisal

When you decide to buy your first home, you may come across a number of terms and conditions you’re not familiar with. While you may have a general idea of what an inspection is, maybe you’re not sure why you need one or how it’s different from an appraisal. To keep it simple, here’s an explainer of each one and what they mean for you as a homebuyer.

Home Inspection

Once you’re under contract on a home you’d like to buy, getting an inspection is a key part of the process. An inspection gives you a clear idea of the safety and overall condition of the home – which is important for such a big transaction. As a recent Realtor.com article explains:

A home inspection is something that protects your financial interest in what will likely be the largest purchase you make in your life—one in which you need as much information as possible.”

If anything is questionable in the inspection process – like the age of the roof, the state of the HVAC system, or just about anything else – you have the option to discuss and negotiate any potential issues or repairs with the seller before the transaction is final. And don’t worry – you don’t have to go through that process alone. Your real estate agent will be your advocate and negotiate with the seller for you.

Home Appraisal

While the inspection tells you about the current state of the house, an appraisal gives you its value. Bankrate explains:

“When buying or selling a home, an appraisal verifies that the sale price of the home is in line with fair market value. This ensures the homebuyer doesn’t pay more than the home is worth, and the mortgage lender doesn’t lend more than it is worth.”

Regardless of what you’re willing to pay for a house, if you’ll be using a mortgage to fund your purchase, the appraisal protects you from overpaying and the bank from lending you more than the home is worth.

And if there’s ever any confusion or discrepancy between the appraisal and the agreed-upon price in your contract, your trusted real estate professional will help you navigate any additional negotiations to try to close the gap.

Bottom Line

The inspection and the appraisal are different but equally important steps when buying a home – and you don’t need to manage them by yourself. Connect with an agent today so you have expert guidance from start to finish.

Housing Market Forecast: What’s Ahead for the 2nd Half of 2024

Housing Market Forecast: What’s Ahead for the 2nd Half of 2024

As we move into the second half of 2024, here’s what experts say you should expect for home prices, mortgage rates, and home sales.

Home Prices Are Expected To Climb Moderately

Home prices are forecasted to rise at a more normal pace. The graph below shows the latest forecasts from seven of the most trusted sources in the industry:

No Caption Received

The reason for continued appreciation? The supply of homes for sale. Jessica Lautz, Deputy Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains:

“One thing that seems to be pretty solid is that home prices are going to continue to go up, and the reason is that we don’t have housing inventory.”

While inventory is up compared to the last couple of years, it’s still low overall. And because there still aren’t enough homes to go around, that’ll keep upward pressure on prices.

If you’re thinking of buying, the good news is you won’t have to deal with prices skyrocketing like they did during the pandemic. Just remember, prices aren’t expected to drop. They’ll continue climbing, just at a slower pace.

So, getting into the market sooner rather than later could still save you money in the long run. Plus, you can feel confident experts say your home will grow in value after you buy it.

Mortgage Rates Are Forecast To Come Down Slightly

One of the best pieces of news for both buyers and sellers is that mortgage rates are expected to come down a bit, according to Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), and NAR (see chart below):

No Caption ReceivedWhen you buy, even a small drop in mortgage rates can make a big difference in your monthly payments. For sellers, lower rates will bring more buyers back into the market, which can help you sell faster and potentially at a higher price. Plus, it may help you get off the fence, if you’ve been hesitant to sell due to today’s rates.

Home Sales Are Projected To Hold Steady

For 2024, the number of home sales will be about the same as last year and may even rise slightly. The graph below compares the 2024 home sales forecasts from Fannie MaeMBA, and NAR to the 4.8 million homes that sold last year:

No Caption Received

The average of the three forecasts is about 5 million sales in 2024 – a small increase from 2023. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, explains why:

“Job gains, steady mortgage rates and the release of inventory from pent-up home sellers will lead to more sales.”

With more inventory available and mortgage rates expected to go down, a few more homes are expected to be sold this year compared to last year. This means more people will be able to move. Let’s work together to make sure you’re one of them.

Bottom Line

If you have any questions or need help navigating the market, reach out to a local real estate agent.

Why a Vacation Home Is the Ultimate Summer Upgrade

Why a Vacation Home Is the Ultimate Summer Upgrade

Summer is officially here and that means it’s the perfect time to start planning where you want to vacation and unwind this season. If you’re excited about getting away and having some fun in the sun, it might make sense to consider if owning your own vacation home is right for you.

An Ameriprise Financial survey sheds light on why people buy a second, or vacation, home (see below): No Caption Received

  • Vacation destination or a place to get away from the stresses of everyday life (81%) – Having a second home to use as a vacation spot can be a special place where you go to relax and take a break from your daily routines and stressors. It also means you won’t have to worry about finding somewhere to stay when you go there.
  • Better weather (49%) – Buying in a place where there may be nicer weather can be a great escape, especially if it’s cold or rainy where you usually live. It lets you enjoy sunny days and warm temperatures, even when it’s not so nice back home.
  • Rental income (41%) – You can rent it out to other people when you’re not using it, which can help you make some extra money.
  • Primary residence in the future (33%) – You can eventually move into the home full-time during retirement. That means you can enjoy vacations there now and have a getaway ready for your future.
  • Having a venue for gatherings with family and friends (25%) – It would be a special spot where you can have parties, regular family trips, and create fun memories.

Ways To Buy Your Vacation Home

And you don’t have to be wealthy to buy a vacation home. Bankrate shares two tips for how to make this dream more achievable for anyone who’s interested:

  • Buy with loved ones or friends: If you’re okay with sharing the vacation home, you can go in on the purchase price together and pool your resources to make it more affordable.
  • Put a savings plan in place: This will require patience and persistence but consider adding a vacation home savings plan to your budget and contributing to it monthly.

Finding Your Dream Spot with a Little Help from an Agent

If the idea of basking in the sun at your very own vacation home sounds appealing, you might want to start looking now. Summer’s when everyone’s trying to buy their slice of paradise, so it’s best to start early.

Your first move is to team up with a real estate agent. They know all the ins and outs of the area you want to be in, and which homes you should look at. Plus, they can give you the lowdown on everything you need to know about having a second home and how it can benefit you. The same article from Bankrate says:

Buying real estate in a new area — or even one you’ve vacationed in for many years — requires expert guidance. That makes it a good idea to work with an experienced local lender who specializes in loans for vacation homes and a local real estate professional. Local lenders and Realtors will understand the required rules and specifics for the area you are buying, and a local Realtor will know what properties are available.”

Bottom Line

If the idea of owning your own vacation home appeals to you, connect with a real estate agent.

What You Need To Know About Today’s Down Payment Programs

What You Need To Know About Today’s Down Payment Programs

There’s no denying it’s gotten more challenging to buy a home, especially with today’s mortgage rates and home price appreciation. And that may be one of the big reasons you’re eager to look into grants and assistance programs to see if there’s anything you qualify for that can help. But unfortunately, many homebuyers feel like they don’t know where to start.

A recent Bank of America Institute study asked prospective buyers where they lack confidence in the process and need more information. And this is what topped the list:

53% said they need help understanding homebuying grant programs.

So, here’s some information that can help you close that gap.

What Is Down Payment Assistance?

As the Mortgage Reports explains:

“Down payment assistance (DPA) programs offer loans and grants that can cover part or all of a home buyer’s down payment and closing costs. More than 2,000 of these programs are available nationwide. . . DPA programs vary by location, but many home buyers could be in line for thousands of dollars in down payment assistance if they qualify.”

And here’s some more good news. On top of all of these programs, you probably don’t need to save as much for your down payment as you think. Contrary to what you may have heard, typically you don’t have to put 20% down unless it’s specified by your loan type or lender. So, you likely don’t need to save as much upfront, and there are programs designed to make your down payment more achievable. Sounds like a win-win.

First-Time and Repeat Buyers Are Often Eligible

It’s also worth mentioning, that it’s not just first-time homebuyers that are eligible for many of these programs. That means whether you’re looking to buy your first house or your fifth, there could be an option for you. As Down Payment Resource notes:

You don’t have to be a first-time buyer. Over 39% of all [homeownership] programs are for repeat homebuyers who have owned a home in the last 3 years.”

Additional Down Payment Resources That Can Help

Here are a few of the down payment assistance programs that are helping many buyers achieve their dream of homeownership, even now:

  • Teacher Next Door is designed to help teachers, first responders, health providers, government employees, active-duty military personnel, and Veterans reach their down payment goals.
  • Fannie Mae provides down payment assistance to eligible first-time homebuyers living in majority-Latino communities.
  • Freddie Mac also has options designed specifically for homebuyers with modest credit scores and limited funds for a down payment.
  • The 3By30 program lays out actionable strategies to add 3 million new Black homeowners by 2030. These programs offer valuable resources for potential buyers, making it easier to secure down payments and realize their dream of homeownership.
  • For Native Americans, Down Payment Resource highlights 42 U.S. homebuyer assistance programs across 14 states that ease the path to homeownership by providing support with down payments and other associated costs.

If you want more information on any of these, the best place to start is by contacting a trusted real estate professional.

They’ll be able to share more details about what may be available, including any other programs designed to serve specific professions or communities. And even if you don’t qualify for these types of programs, they can help see if there are any other federal, state, and local options available you should look into.

Bottom Line

Affordability is still a challenge, so if you’re looking to buy, you’re going to want to make sure you’re taking advantage of any and all resources available.

The best way to find out what’s out there is to connect with a team of real estate professionals, including a trusted lender and a local agent.

Real Estate Is Still the Best Long-Term Investment [INFOGRAPHIC]

Real Estate Is Still the Best Long-Term Investment [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights

  • According to a recent poll from Gallup, real estate has been voted the best long-term investment for twelve straight years.
  • That’s because a home is so much more just than a roof over your head. It’s also an asset that typically grows in value over time.
  • If you’ve been debating if it makes more sense to rent or buy, connect with a real estate agent to talk about why homeownership can be a better bet in the long run.