Category Archives: Home buying tips

June is National Homeownership month

Homeownership is a goal of many people.

To get to that goal there are several things you should do and several things to consider.

THINGS TO DO TO REACH YOUR GOAL

When you make a plan to get yourself to your goal of homeownership, learn about first-time homebuyer savings accounts. This account, like any other, is trackable and you can see how you are building your savings toward a home purchase. NerdWallet.com has a list of of these programs available in each state and the District of Columbia.

The first step you should make in purchasing a house, before contacting a real estate agent, is meeting with a mortage loan banker who can tell you what kind of mortgage program you qualify for and what your spending limits look like.

You might find that you currently don’t qualify, but the loan officer can advise you of the steps to take that will qualify you. Check with your bank if they have a mortgage department. You already have a relationship with that bank so talk to them first about helping you purchase a home.

Search the internet for homes in your price range. If you’re purchasing in the town you currently live, drive around and familiarize yourself with neighborhoods if you haven’t already. If you have to commute to work, decide what neighborhoods are close enough that you can afford. Concerned about demographics? Search the web for information, call the local police department, contact a city or county representative. Follow the city or town’s social media pages.

Interview a few local real estate agents. Use word of mouth referrals from friends and co-workers to find your agent. Referral companies charge agents a large fee to help you. You get to pick from a pool of people who agree to pay it. Wouldn’t you rather pick from someone with a personal reference from a friend?

You’ll want to be able to work with the agent your choose and feel comfortable with them handling your personal information. Interview at least one who is C2EX Endorsed and/or has completed the e-PRO course to find out their point of difference. C2EX is the National Association of Realtors’ Committment to Excellence program. e-PRO is a certification course teaching Realtors how to protect your private information in a digital world. They are optional continuing education classes.

THINGS TO CONSIDER

As a first-time homebuyer, you will want to have a real estate agent to represent you through a transaction for the following reasons:

  1. Your agent can point out homes that you might miss on your search. Maybe the listing doesn’t say much about the property but your agent has been inside and feels it is something for you to consider.
  2. He or she belongs to an association with protocols for handling COVID-19. Whether your or the seller are concerned, agents have a responsibility to follow what you both feel is necessary.
  3. Agents are skilled in negotiating purchase pricing and earnest money, and navigating disclosures, inspections, appraisal issues, and the closing process.
  4. An agent that is not representing the seller, will have your best interest in their care so don’t be too quick to call the agent listed on the sign in front of your dream home or visit a new construction development without your agent.
  5. Real estate agents can work with FSBO sellers, too. Don’t call a FSBO, let your agent do it for you. The FSBO seller is going it alone; you shouldn’t have to.
  6. Homebuying is emotional; it’s the biggest purchase most people make and agents understand that. He or she is on your side and can help you with the joy, frustration, fear, and excitement that a first-time homebuyer can go through during a purchase.
  7. Agents make great, life-long friends.

The National Association of Realtors has a First-time Homebuyers Guide that you can watch and listen to with numerous resources to help you navigate the process to become a homeowner.

June in National Homeownership Month. Best wishes reaching your goal.

Eileen Saunders, SRES REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors BOF-Oxford 2092 Old Taylor Road #101, Oxford, MS 38655  662-404-0816/662-234-5344 eileen@tmhomes.com

 

Leverage These Low Interest Rates

Many people dream of their next home. Could it be a larger home for your larger family? Maybe you want a bigger house to incorporate a home office. Do you dream of a home with more land?

Others are deciding on downsizing. Retirees who no longer care to keep up a garden, or  do not want exterior maintenance are thinking of a smaller home or condo. Empty nesters might be trying to figure out their next step to a smaller space but one the kids and grand kids and visit comfortably.

Right now, we have historically low interest rates which makes it a great time buy a new home.

If you are a new homebuyer, contact your bank’s mortgage department or find a lender in your town determine what mortgage programs work for you. What kind of rate can you get and what does a rate lock mean? Decide if you have the money for a down payment. If not, learn from your mortgage professional ways to secure one. Ask about taxes and insurance that will be added to the mortgage.

Get quotes on moving expenses and storage in case you need a short-term storage unit. Many people forget this part of the cost. Determine your budget and the price range to be searching for a house.

If the numbers work out and you find that this is the time for you to make a purchase, start your homebuying searches online by looking at neighborhoods in your price range. Keep a mortgage calculator, like one offered by Realtor.com, nearby to help you figure out the costs.

Look for a real estate agent to help you.

Ask for referrals from friends and family and the mortgage lender you are working with. Most of these people in your sphere know or have worked with an agent that they would want to recommend.

Online companies that pick an agent for you are really gathering your info and selling it to local agents; the agent you pick from this pool will have to pay a fee to the referral company for your business. If you go that route, be sure to interview several that call you. Make sure you pick an agent that you feel you can trust; one that you think you’ll get along with.

Check out non-referral companies, too, like Yelp and Realtor.com to investigate agent profiles. Do a browser search for local agents and read about the ones that populate on the search page. Find agents’ business pages on Facebook and profiles on LinkedIn.

If you want specifically to purchase short-sale or REO properties, search for agents that are educated in the process. There is significantly more paperwork and you really can’t do it alone.

A good agent will suggest more properties to visit and will walk you through the homebuying process: the contracts, addendum, inspections and negotiating for repairs including termites if they are present, attorneys, making sense of appraisals, the underwriting process, closing proceedures and more.

Use the agent you picked to help you with For Sale By Owner properties, too. You’ll want a coach and advocate to take this path with you.  FSBO sellers are only interested in their well being and generally won’t be able to help you with your questions. If you call a FSBO then you’re on your own. Once they have your name, they are not going to want to pay your agent, and your agent can’t help you any further. So let your agent call the FSBO seller for you.

Enjoy your home buying adventure.

Eileen Saunders, SRES REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors BOF-Oxford 2092 Old Taylor Road #101, Oxford, MS 38655  662-404-0816/662-234-5344 eileen@tmhomes.com

 

 

 

 

Reasons People Sell Their Homes

People have many reasons for selling the home or investment property that they own. Often, buyers or other agents will ask, “why are the homeowners selling?” Unless the sellers want people to know their reason, this is confidential information.

Sometimes this question can be interpreted as “what’s wrong with the house?” Generally, if there are any issues with the house or land, it will be stated on the property disclosure statement. This disclosure answers all the questions the particular state’s laws require to be disclosed including (but not limited to), any past water damage, structural damage from natural disasters or termites, mold, lead paint, and age of roof and appliances. Many states do not require disclosure of rumored hauntings or previous death, but some do.

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If a buyer really needs to know these non-disclosure issues, they can research it themselves. Crime reports are available online or by calling the local police department. Paranormal activity and previous death in the house can be found in old newspapers or by other means of research.  Other non-disclosed items can be personal issues, for example, a dispute with a neighbor that makes it uncomfortable for the seller to stay in that neighborhood. The property might be near a commercial development and the seller no longer wants to deal with the heavy traffic it brings. A buyer might want it for the convenience.

If the planned development hasn’t started yet, you should know all you can about the plans. Ask your agent for information available about approved future plans that might affect your purchase.a-buy-me-a-coffee-987096_1920

Frankly, there are so many reasons to sell property that, unless it’s a required disclosed issue, it really shouldn’t be a concern to anyone. Often, the reason is a confidential one and it is their real estate agent’s job to sell the house, not gossip about the seller and their problems.

Here is a small list of possible reasons a seller is selling. There are plenty more, but this should give you, as a buyer, pause for thought that it really does not matter. If the house is desirable and you feel good about it, then you have a great reason to purchase it.

  • Downsizing
  • Retiring in another town/state/country
  • Job transfer
  • Need to put kids in a different school district (maybe for sports or arts program)
  • Need a larger house
  • Neighbors entertain often and are noisy
  • Neighbor children play musical instruments the seller can hear
  • Want a property to put in a pool
  • Wants a new house/new construction
  • Wants a one-level rather than a two-level house
  • Moving to assisted living
  • Moving in with family
  • Building the dream home
  • Death
  • Inherited land the recipient does not want
  • Long-held investment, time to sell
  • Illness
  • College children graduated and no longer need the condo
  • Rental property too much trouble to maintain
  • Divorce
  • Personal dispute with neighbor
  • Wants to move to a neighborhood without HOA restrictions
  • Wants a neighborhood with deed restrictions
  • Moving to the country
  • Moving closer to town
  • Land nearby is being developed and want to be away from the higher traffic it will bring

You can probably come up with more reasons to sell and move. If you are buying a house or land, you have your own reasons for doing so.  You are about to make one of the biggest purchases of your life, focus on what is great about it and how it fits into your life. Be thankful that property is available for you.

Mark Twain once said, “By land, they aren’t making it anymore.” If the opportunity for land or for the house on the land comes along and you want it, do your due diligence and then go for it if it fits your needs.

Eileen Saunders, SRES REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors BOF-Oxford 2092 Old Taylor Road #101, Oxford, MS 38655  662-404-0816/662-234-5344 eileen@tmhomes.com