If you’re a first time homebuyer, or it’s been a while since you bought your home, you’re probably wondering what added costs are involved in purchasing a home, aside from your down payment. Once you are under contract to purchase a home, your lender will provide you with a loan estimate, which will include an estimate of all closing costs. However, you may want an idea of what these costs look like long before reaching that point in the homebuying process. And rightly so: it’s important to be informed ahead of time to avoid surprises – just a little preparation can make all the difference. A general rule of thumb is to budget for 1% of the purchase price towards closing costs. Below is a rough estimate* of some of the costs that might be involved with your home purchase. (Please note these numbers are based on the San Francisco Bay Area real estate market and may vary.) Continue reading “The Less Obvious Costs of Buying A Home”
Many homebuyers I encounter are on the fence of buying now vs. waiting until later this year or next year to buy a home. “Will inventory get better?” “What if the market softens?” “Is another crash coming?” “I’m waiting for prices to come down.”
If we haven’t spoken over the phone or in person about these concerns yet, we definitely should. But below is some general information for you to consider when determining whether now might be the right time for you to buy a home. Continue reading “The Cost of Waiting To Buy”
A homeowner recently asked me whether she should make certain upgrades to her home before she put it on the market. While I believe some upgrades help the home show better, and increase the home’s appeal to a greater number of buyers — such as removing popcorn ceilings, applying a fresh coat of paint — many upgrades aren’t necessary to sell a home for top dollar. Below are some repairs that can get you a greater return on investment. Continue reading “Do I Need To Remodel Before I Sell?”
Even if your credit is already solid, it pays to keep improving. A higher score (especially above 760) can give you more options — and better rates — when applying for a mortgage. Here are some tips to help you improve:
- Keep track of where you stand. Review your credit report regularly to make sure it’s accurate, and to look for areas where you can improve. Order yours free at annualcreditreport.com.
- Always pay bills on time. It may seem obvious, but a history of consistent on-time payments is one of the biggest factors in building a good score.
- Keep balances low. How much credit you have available is another important scoring factor, so keep balances as far below your credit limit as possible. Keeping your balances below 30% of your total available credit may improve your credit score.
- Keep unused accounts open. Open accounts with no balances mean you have more available credit, so it can help your score to keep them open even if you don’t plan to use them.
- Be careful about opening new accounts. If you need a new credit account and can comfortably manage the additional payments, great. But avoid anything that might strain your budget.
Source: Wells Fargo
Many first time homebuyers mistakenly believe that the first step to buying a home is to find the home they want to live in. In reality, searching for a home should come only after two important things have been completed: finding the right real estate agent and getting pre-approved. Today’s post is about the second step — the all-important pre-approval. Continue reading “The Importance of Getting Preapproved”
Homeownership is a major part of the American Dream. As evidence of that, 91% of Americans believe that owning a home is either essential (43%) or important (48%) to achieving that “dream.” In a market where some people may be unsure about the benefits and possibilities of buying a home, it is important that we remember this.
Homeownership is NOT just about the money. In fact, some of the major benefits are non-financial. Here are a few of those benefits as per the National Association of Realtors: Continue reading “The Benefits Of Homeownership Go Beyond The Financial”
The long window of low rates will remain open in 2018, but may be slowly closing. Expect a slow, moderate ascent, with rates staying in the 4 – 5% range in 2018. Now is the time to buy a home, with rates so low and prices continuing to climb.
The story may change in 2019 and beyond: Continue reading “2018 is the Projected Year of Interest Rates Rising and Homes Still Appreciating”
When shopping for a new home loan, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the terminology that lenders and realtors use to describe various aspects of lending: PITI, conforming/non-conforming, jumbo, conventional/nonconventional, ARM… I often tell clients, when in doubt, ask your lender to explain anything and everything to you. There are no dumb questions in real estate (and in life).
However, a frequent question I come across is what is the difference between an interest rate and an APR (annual percentage rate)? The answer is rather straightforward. Continue reading “Interest Rate vs. APR: What’s the Difference?”