Potential homebuyers are always cautioned to be aware of mortgage lending standards and the difficulty they might face when trying to obtain a mortgage. Credit availability is expanding, making it easier to get a mortgage now than it was a year ago. The market is still tight however, and homebuyers should be prepared to shop around until they find a lender who is offering something that will meet the needs of their family.
Mortgage lending companies have high standards so it is important to make sure you and anyone else who will be included on the mortgage have their credit in check. The mortgage market is strict because lenders do not want to be put in a situation where they are forced to repurchase loans that are not paid on. They also do not want to end up in a litigation situation due to loan issues.
What Has Happened to the Number of Mortgages?
Due to the strict nature and requirements of the lending companies, the number of mortgages given out has significantly dropped. A report by the Housing Financial Policy Center at the Urban Institute showed that about 6.3 million fewer mortgages were given out between 2009 and 2015. The reasons behind this statistic are strict regulations and policies. These mortgages would have been granted if the lending standards where more reasonable.
Mortgage companies rely on calculations to determine if a home buyer will become delinquent on their payment. They will not give you a loan if you are too much of a risk for them. Credit history has a huge impact on this decision since lenders can see how often you pay back your debts. The history they receive is extensive. This view into your financial past causes lenders to take less risk when lending to you for your mortgage....
It is easy to become overwhelmed when you enter the home buying market. Friends, family, colleagues, and even acquaintances will give you their opinions if you are a first time home buyer. While most of them are looking out for your best interest, they are not fully aware of what is happening in the housing market.
It is important for you to be prepared and have your own questions ready. No matter what other opinions you are getting, you are the one buying the home and your comfort level will help make your final decision. Here are three important questions to ask before you purchase a home.
1. Why am I Buying a Home?
Regardless of the finances, it is important to think about what made you want to buy a home in the first place. Usually the reasons don’t have to do with money. Instead, home buyers are focused on how the house will impact their family in the future. A study done by the Joint Center for House Studies at Harvard found there are four reasons people buy a home. Those reasons include schools for your children, a safe environment, more room for your family to grow, and control of your own space.
These factors are the most common reasons people look to buy a new home. When you ask yourself why you are looking to purchase a home, do any of those factors come up? Spend time with your spouse or family members who are involved in this decision and determine why you want a home in the first place. Creating this list will help when searching for a home and can help your real estate agent find the best home for your needs.
2. What is the Trend with Home Values?
Our current economy and housing market is strong. That means home values and mortgage...
There has been some discussion recently on home prices in relation to mortgage rates. Some believe if there is a rapid rise of mortgage rates, home prices should decrease. Logically it makes the most sense for the price of the house to drop when interest rates are rising, but this is not always the case.
This theory of home prices decreasing is typically discussed by future home buyers. As a buyer you would like to think if you are paying higher rates on your mortgage, you should be able to see a decrease in cost somewhere else. Unfortunately, these rates are rising because the economy is in better shape. As the economy succeeds, incomes rise, rates go up, as well as the price of the home.
A recent study by the John Burns Real Estate Consulting found mortgage rates have very little impact on the cost of the home. The housing market and price increases are affected by things like job growth in the area and rising wages. Coincidentally, these same factors are causing the rise in the mortgage rates since people can afford to take out more.
As the economy progresses and strengthens, mortgage rates and home prices will fluctuate. It is a misconception as rates increase, home prices will decrease. Advances in the economy have shown that rates and home prices are more likely to increase together.
The season you sell your home can have an impact on how much you get for your home and how quickly it sells. The season that has the most success in selling homes is spring. This is a good time of year for families moving to new school districts and is also more convenient weather for moving. Because of this trend, most people will recommend waiting to list your home until after the winter is over. Avoiding the winter is a huge misconception in the housing industry and can cause homeowners to miss out on opportunities.
Selling in the winter can give you a few advantages. There will be fewer houses on the market since most people assume winter is a bad time to sell. This gives your home more attention. Potential buyers are always looking no matter the time of year. Keeping your house on the market in the winter might bring the right buyer to your door. Real estate agents also tend to be less busy during these months and commit more time to getting your home sold.
Studies have shown winter buyers are buying because they need to move right away either for a relocation or personal situation. They will want to close quickly and allow for a much smoother sale.
If you need to sell your home right away, or have some time but want to see what is out there, consider listing in the winter. Most homeowners who are going to sell will list their home in the spring, making for a competitive market. The winter allows buyers who are in a hurry to move consider your home and sell for more money than you would have in the spring.
The right professional can help you buy your dream home or sell your existing home quickly. Believe it or not, there is a difference between a Real Estate Agent and a Realtor®. Both are licensed to sell real estate but a Realtor® is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and is bound by the Realtor® Code of Ethics. The Code of Ethics is strictly enforced and is much more restrictive and confining as to conduct.
As one of the most important purchases made in our lives, we give little thought to choosing a Realtor® who specializes in what we need or what we are looking for.
Here are some red flags to take into consideration when looking for an agent:
- The agent says they can sell your house for the highest price - When selling your house, have at least three agents give listing presentations and show you what comparable homes have sold for and how long it took them to sell. Pricing a home too high in the beginning means it will take longer to sell and ultimately for less.
- The agent doesnt know your neighborhood - Finding an agent who knows your neighborhood is important in areas where moving a block can raise or lower the value of a home by quite a bit.
- The agent charges a lower commission - In most areas, commissions can range from 5 to 7 percent and is split between the listing agent and the selling agent. If the commission on your house is too low, agent...
When it comes to energy efficiency, look for smart features and expertise to help you save energy and money and add value to your home.
1. Begin with a Right-Sized Home.
If the home you buy is simply too large for you or your family’s needs or plans, you stand a good chance of wasting energy through excessive heating and cooling costs. If it’s too small, you’ll feel cramped and uncomfortable. It’s a big investment, so seek balance and buy it “right” from the outset.
2. Purchase Energy Star Appliances Such as Your TV, Dishwasher, Washer and Dryer, and Microwave.
And especially the refrigerator, as it alone contributes about 10 percent of the energy use in a home. Also, unplug electronics not in use or turn off power strips to avoid phantom charges.
3. Install Efficient Lighting Such as Compact Flourescent (CLF) or LED Bulbs in Every Fixture.
Lighting accounts for about 6 percent of an energy bill each year.
4. Get an Energy Audit and Have Tests Performed to Identify Ways of Improving Your Efficiency.
You can always upgrade your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system as well as your thermal envelope, which includes insulation, windows, and doors and the seals or weather stripping around them. Visit energy.gov/energytips for more tips.