Buying Property As-Is: How To Protect Yourself Accordingly

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 12th, 2021

Buying Property As-Is: How To Protect Yourself AccordinglyIf you are looking for a home, your agent may tell you that a home is being sold as-is. This means that there may be major defects with the home that the seller is not willing to repair before offloading the property. As a result, their problems may become your problems if you purchase that property. How can you protect yourself during the sale?

Look At All Disclosures

Even though disclosure laws can vary significantly from state to state, the homeowner may be required to disclose certain problems to you. Real estate agents should always point out disclosures from sellers, so take a look at what the seller is sharing with you. Examples could include problems with the roof, lead paint, or natural hazards such as flood zones or fire zones. 

Add An Inspection Contingency

You should always get an inspection before you purchase the home so you know what defects might be present. If you purchase a home and do not get an inspection, you might be surprised by certain defects when you move in.

Furthermore, you should add an inspection contingency to the home. This means that you have the opportunity to negotiate for certain issues to be resolved if they are found on inspection. Or, you pay a lower price for the home if the seller is unwilling to resolve them.

Ask For Help From A Lawyer

If there are major defects in the home, and if the seller is refusing to budge, you may want to reach out to a real estate attorney. This is helpful for learning more about the real estate laws in your state. You need to protect your rights, figure out how you can get the defects fixed, and how you can save money on the price of the home. Your real estate agent might be able to refer you to a real estate attorney. 

Negotiate A Lower Price

Ultimately, the best way for you to protect yourself is to negotiate a lower price. Because you will have to spend a lot of money repairing the home, the seller should be prepared to reduce his or her asking price. In a seller’s market, you may not have that opportunity, but you may want to ask for a discount. 

 

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A Review Of Government Vs Conventional Mortgages

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 21st, 2021

A Review Of Government Vs Conventional MortgagesThere are two broad categories of mortgages. The first is government mortgages, which include USDA, FHA, and VA loans. These loans are backed and insured by the United States government. The other category is conventional mortgages. These are mortgages that are insured by private lenders, such as banks and credit unions. What are the differences between these two loan options?

Government Mortgages

The qualifications for government mortgages are usually more lenient than conventional loans. For example, FHA mortgages are usually backed by the Federal Housing Administration. FHA loans could be a smart option for borrowers who might not be able to make a large down payment or who are taking out a loan for the first time. In addition, borrowers with higher debt to income ratios and lower credit scores might also be able to qualify for an FHA loan. While it is possible to qualify for an FHA loan with a lower down payment mortgage insurance might still be required.

Another government mortgage is a VA mortgage. This is a mortgage that is insured by the United States government that is available to members of the military. In order to qualify for a VA loan, a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is required. While VA loans do not charge mortgage insurance, an upfront funding fee could be charged if certain requirements are not met.

Conventional Mortgages

Conventional mortgages refer to home loans that are created and financed by unions, banks, credit unions, and other lenders not associated with the United States government. When compared to government loans, they usually have stricter guidelines. Borrowers seeking a conventional mortgage usually must have a higher credit score, a larger down payment, and a lower debt to income ratio. If borrowers are not able to put 20 percent down, they might be charged private mortgage insurance (PMI); however, some borrowers might be able to negotiate lender-insured PMI if they are willing to accept a higher interest rate.

Speak To A Loan Officer

The right loan for one person might not be the right loan for someone else. Everyone should speak to a loan officer to figure out which type of home loan is right for them. That way, everyone can negotiate favorable terms on a home loan.

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Top 8 Things New Homeowners Need

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 21st, 2021

Top 8 Things New Homeowners NeedMoving into your first home is an exciting experience, but it can also be overwhelming. To manage the move properly, you need a wide variety of tools you may never have considered before. You may not realize you should have purchased a certain item until you need it. 

To prepare for the move into your new home, make sure you have all of the items listed below. 

Storage For Documents

As a homeowner, you will need to keep and organize a variety of documents, including receipts, warranties and even your mortgage papers. Consider buying a fireproof box or cabinet to store these items.

Fire Extinguisher

Every homeowner should have at least one fire extinguisher on hand. Make sure your fire extinguisher is stored in a location that can be accessed easily in the event of a fire. 

Extension Cords

Extension cords can be useful in a variety of situations, from plugging in appliances that are too far from an outlet to decorating your home for the holidays. Be sure to buy multiple cords in different lengths so you can use them for different purposes. 

Smoke Alarms

If your home is not already equipped with working smoke alarms, you need to purchase and install them as soon as possible. Be sure that you check your alarms every four months and change the batteries as needed. 

Cleaning Supplies

Another important purchase for every new homeowner is cleaning supplies. While some of these supplies may be used on a daily basis, others may be used less frequently. Nonetheless, it is a smart idea to have all of these items on hand. Examples of cleaning supplies you may need include window cleaner, toilet brushes, brooms, mops, sponges and paper towels. If you have carpet in your new home, you may need to buy a vacuum cleaner as well.

A Basic Tool Kit

Every new homeowner will need some basic tools. Purchasing these tools in advance will make both small and large tasks easier. Be sure your toolkit includes a utility knife, flashlight, measuring tape, screwdrivers, wrenches and hammers. Having some different kinds of tape on hand is also a wise idea. 

Exterior Door Locks

When moving into a new home, it is always a good idea to change the locks. Although the previous owner is asked to turn over all the keys to the home, it is impossible to know whether other keys exist. Buying your own door locks will protect against break-ins and give you peace of mind. 

Lawn Equipment

If you will be responsible for maintaining your own lawn and landscaping, you will need to invest in the proper lawn maintenance equipment. Examples of items you may need include snow shovels, sprinklers, rakes, shears, shovels and water hoses. You may also need a lawnmower. 

You may still need to make additional purchases after you have everything on this list. However, this list covers many of the basic things you will need to begin life successfully in your new home. 

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How to Become a Homeowner: First Time Home Buyer Guide

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 14th, 2021

How to Become a Homeowner: First Time Home Buyer GuideBecoming a homeowner for the first time is exciting. However, for many potential buyers, the process can also be confusing. Below is an overview of the steps you need to complete in order to buy your first home. 

Work Out The Finances

The first step in buying a home is deciding on a price range. This price range will be determined by your income, as well as your own comfort level with home prices and monthly payments. Consider all of these factors to determine the maximum amount you are willing to spend on your new home. 

In most cases, you will be required to pay the downpayment and closing costs upfront, even if you are financing the rest of the home’s purchase price.

In general, most lenders will expect a downpayment equal to 20 percent of the home’s purchase price. Otherwise, you may be required to pay mortgage insurance. Before buying a home, set enough money aside to cover these expenses. 

For most homeowners, the next step in the home buying process involves looking into different mortgage options. Unless you have enough money to purchase your home for cash, you will need a mortgage. Be sure to compare quotes from different lenders before making a choice to be sure you are getting the best deal.

Once you have chosen a lender and a specific type of mortgage, ask for a preapproval letter that you can attach to any offers you make so that you will be a more reliable and attractive buyer. 

Hire An Agent 

When searching for the perfect first home, hiring a real estate agent to represent you throughout the process is highly recommended. Your real estate agent will act as a buyer’s agent, which means they will have your best interests at heart. When you don’t have a buyer’s agent, you will be dealing only with the seller’s real estate agent instead. Because this individual has been hired to represent the seller, they will always put the seller’s needs above yours. 

Find The Right Home

Once you have a qualified agent to represent you and a preapproval letter from your lender, it is time to start looking for your new home! Your real estate agent will help you comb through listings and choose the properties you want to see. Next, you will walk through each home until you find the one that is right for you. After you have chosen a home, your real estate agent will help you prepare and submit an offer to the seller. 

The process of buying your first home may seem overwhelming at first. However, by following these steps, you can simplify the process and become a homeowner with ease. 

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How Much Income Should People Spend On A Mortgage?

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 24th, 2020

How Much Income Should People Spend On A Mortgage?When people are looking for a home, this is an exciting process. There is always something fun about looking at potential homes and envisioning a future there. This is a big decision. At the same time, it is just as important for people to think about how much of their money they should be spending on their mortgage. There are a few rules of thumb that people should keep in mind. 

The 28 Percent Rule

One of the most common rules that financial advisors and lenders are going to talk about is going to be the 28 percent rule. This rule states that people should not be spending any more than 28 percent of their pre-tax income on their monthly housing payments. This includes not only the mortgage but also any potential homeowners association fees, real estate taxes, and home insurance payments. Once people figure out how much they can afford on their monthly mortgage payment, they can work backward to see how large of a house they can afford. 

The 36 Percent Rule

The other rule that homebuyers are going to hear is the 36 percent rule. This is a rule that pertains to all debt. Therefore, this rule includes not only the monthly mortgage payments but also any car payments, credit card payments, utilities, and student loans. In general, no more than 36 percent of someone’s pre-tax income should be going toward debt. This is very important for taking out a home loan because it is going to impact someone’s debt to income ratio. If the debt to income ratio is too high, then potential homeowners are going to have a hard time getting a great deal on a mortgage. Furthermore, they could even be denied completely. 

Find The Right House

For those who are looking for a home, this is an exciting time. At the same time, it can also be hard to find the right home when people don’t know exactly what they’re looking for. When potential homeowners understand what their budget is, this process gets much easier. Therefore, everyone needs to think about how big of a monthly mortgage payment they can afford. This will help them make the right decision.

 

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The Home Buyer Assistance Program Provides Assistance To Local First-Time Homebuyers

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 20th, 2020

The Home Buyer Assistance Program Provides Assistance To Local First-Time HomebuyersRecently, the local region’s subcommittee held a meeting using videoconferencing and discussed a new version Home Buyer Assistance Program. The Home Buyer Assistance Program has been designed to help first-time homebuyers by providing a down payment of up to $25,000. The funding for the Home Buyer Assistance Program is going to come from the city’s reparations fund.

The local city council agreed to deposit up to $10 million in tax revenue from the city into this fund. It appears that some of it will be used to help people purchase their first home.

An Overview Of The Home Buyer Assistance Program

The Home Buyer Assistance Program has been put together using feedback from the local community. All of these recommendations were taken into account when looking at how to remedy the situation. It was clear, across the board, that the priority was housing. Minority communities in the local area have been struggling for decades. One of the ways to help these underserved populations is to provide them with stable housing.

The Home Buyer Assistance Program is going to provide no-interest, forgivable loans that come from the reparation funds. Now, thanks to this program, first-time homebuyers will be able to purchase homes anywhere in the city. The goal of this program is to remedy historical segregation, which will help increase diversity across the city.

Who Is Eligible For The Home Buyer Assistance Program?

The Home Buyer Assistance Program will limit those who qualify for assistance. Some of the key conditions of the program include:

  • Applicants must be a resident of African-American descent
  • Applicants must have suffered discrimination in some way as a result of the city’s policies
  • Applicants must be a direct descendant of someone who lived in the local area between 1919 and 1969 or suffered discrimination in some other way

These criteria are fairly broad and should open the door to plenty of people who can take advantage of the money provided by the Home Buyer Assistance Program to purchase their first home. With the current state of the housing market, there are countless individuals and families in the local area who might be able to move to a safer area of town.

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Qualify For A Larger Mortgage With A Co-Signer

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 27th, 2020

Qualify For A Larger Mortgage With A Co-SignerThere are numerous steps involved in the process of buying a new home. It is important to go through the mortgage qualifying process before looking at dream houses. This gives people an idea of how big a house they can afford. Sometimes, individuals looking for a house might not get a loan that is big enough to cover their dream house. There are ways to qualify for a larger loan; however, one of the fastest methods is to use a co-signer.

What Is A Co-Signer?

A co-signer is someone who signs onto a potential home loan with the homebuyer. Essentially, the co-signer is saying that he or she is willing to be on the hook for the loan in the event that the primary homeowner is unable to make his or her mortgage payments.

This is a big commitment from the co-signer because he or she is exposing himself or herself on behalf of the primary borrower. On the other hand, the co-signer is also providing a vote of confidence on behalf of the primary borrower. Parents often act as co-signers for their children when they purchase their first home.

Vetting The Co-Signer

When someone is going through the home loan process, they are asked to produce tax returns, proof of income, credit reports, bank statements, and more. The co-signer is going to go through the same process. The bank wants to make sure the co-signer is actually adding something of value to the buying process.

The income and debt of the co-signer will be added to the primary borrower. Then, the two will be combined to be approved for a larger home loan. This can help someone purchase the home of his or her dreams.

An Important Note On The Co-Signer

If the co-signer goes to apply for a home loan or car loan in the future, the loan for which they co-signed will show up. This could limit the ability of the co-signer to qualify for a loan down the road. Even though having a co-signer can increase the size of the loan for the primary borrower, this is not without risk to the co-signer. Consider this carefully!

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How To Save Big Money On Your Next Home Renovation Project

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 8th, 2020

How To Save Big Money On Your Next Home Renovation ProjectEvery year, homeowners spend billions of dollars renovating their homes. It almost seems expected that homeowners are going to end up going over budget on any project. On the other hand, this doesn’t have to be the case. In reality, there are a few tips and tricks that homeowners can follow to help them save big money on that next home renovation project.

Serve As The General Contractor

Many homeowners hire a general contractor to control the staffing of each individual project. While this might reduce stress levels, it also costs more money. Hiring a general contractor adds an additional middle man to the project who might charge a premium for each individual project.

Homeowners that need to renovate the kitchen, replace the roof, and find a new water heater should hire professionals to handle these individual projects; however, they don’t necessarily need to hire a general contractor. Skipping this step can save money.

Seek Out Multiple Bids On Each Project

Some homeowners don’t like making phone calls and filling out paperwork to collect bids for various projects; however, collecting multiple bids can help homeowners save money. On any given home renovation project, try to collect at least three bids. For larger projects, it is better to collect even more. 

Then, once all the bids are collected, they can be leveraged against each other for a lower price. Homeowners are often surprised by the wide range of bids on a project. Some proposals might even be thousands of dollars apart.

Take Advantage Of Sales

Just as food goes on sale at the grocery store, the materials needed to complete a home renovation project might go on sale from time to time as well. Taking advantage of sales at department stores can be a great way to reduce overhead costs. There might even be cheaper options online. 

Reduce Home Renovation Costs

These are a few of the most important tips for reducing the cost of that next big home renovation project. Home renovation projects don’t have to break the bank! Be sure to collect multiple bids and leverage inventory sales. 

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Are Home Warranties Worth The Money?

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 6th, 2020

Are Home Warranties Worth The MoneyThose who own homes might regularly receive mail advertising something called a home warranty. Many people end up tossing these leaflets away because they think this is just another form of home insurance, which many people get through their mortgage lender. In reality, a home warranty is not home insurance. Therefore, some people might be wondering whether or not a home warranty is worth the money.

There are a few important points that people should know.

What Is A Home Warranty?

A home warranty is similar to insurance is that people are going to pay a set premium per year to protect them against the risk of larger expenses down the road; however, people need to know what a home warranty is going to cover. This is where people need to read the policy. 

Typically, a home warranty is going to cover the cost to repair or replace certain appliances or home systems is they are damaged or break down. If someone needs to file a claim, this is usually done online or over the phone. Then, the homeowner is going to bring out a professional and pay a service fee (which is similar to a deductible) to get the repair completed. In some cases, the homeowner will have to pay the entire bill and get reimbursed later.

Is The Home Warranty Worth It?

In general, if someone has purchased a brand new home, this policy simply isn’t necessary. In many states, the builder is required to repair defects for a few years after the home is built. The common time-frames range from two years to ten years. Therefore, a home warranty might be duplicate coverage and, thus, unnecessary. Furthermore, brand new appliances are almost always protected by one or two-year warranties. Again, a home warranty might be duplicate coverage.

On the other hand, if someone has an older home or older appliances, the home warranty might be worth it. Older appliances are more likely to break down and, thus, require repairs. Therefore, people need to think about their own individual circumstances and weigh the risk of a broken appliance against the cost of the policy. A home warranty may be right for some people but not others.

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How Does A Home Appraisal Work?

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on April 29th, 2020

How Does A Home Appraisal WorkWhether you’re a buyer or a seller, a home appraisal is a critical component of the home selling process. An appraisal is also required in situations where a home is gifted to a family member, so it’s important to have a clear understanding of what it entails. 

What Is A Home Appraisal?

A home appraisal is an unbiased estimate of a home’s fair market value conducted by a professional appraiser. All 50 states require that appraisers be licensed and/or certified and demonstrate knowledge of the specified area. The purpose of a home appraisal is to determine whether the home’s asking price is appropriate based on its location, condition, size, and amenities.

Appraisals are done in almost all purchase, sale and refinance transactions, with the exception being when a buyer uses cash and doesn’t have a mortgage. They are typically coordinated by the mortgage lender to ensure the loan isn’t too large in relation to the home’s value.

How Are Appraisal Values Determined?

Licensed appraisers calculate a home’s value based on comparable recent sales in the area and current market trends. Factors such as the home’s floor plan, size, number of rooms, and any upgrades or amenities are also considered. Upgrades and amenities could include things such as a pool, an expanded garage, or a remodeled kitchen.

The appraiser conducts a visual inspection to appraise a home, noting the home’s condition and whether any major repairs are needed. It’s important to note that this differs from a home inspection in that the appraisal assesses a home’s value, while an inspection assesses its condition. In an inspection, the home inspector actually makes repair recommendations. During an appraisal,the appraiser notes any necessary repairs but does not make recommendations.

When Is An Appraisal Done?

After an offer is made, an appraisal is one of the first steps in the closing process. Everything will proceed as planned as long as the appraisal value comes in at or above the price in the contract. If it appraises for below that amount, closing can be delayed or canceled altogether.

What Does A Home Appraisal Cost?

Costs vary based on the mortgage type, but a home appraisal generally costs $300-500. It is almost always paid for by the borrower as part of closing costs.

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