Mortgage Knowledge

You have a ratified offer and now you need to finalize the mortgage application for your money to complete the purchase of your new home.  What do you need to know?

My background as a mortgage processor gives me some inside knowledge I can share.  Let’s take a look into getting a mortgage. 

What NOT to do:

  1. Don’t deposit large amounts of cash into your bank accounts – make sure when you begin your home purchase process to have your money in your bank account ready for your purchase
  2. Don’t quit your job – of course having a job is necessary to repay your loan so don’t quit your job or make job changes in the middle of a mortgage application.  A lender will have to verify your employment and income and will re-certify this information a few days prior to your purchase 
  3. Don’t open new credit – be sure to hold off on any large purchases with new credit accounts.  Yes, you want to buy all those nice things for the new house but hold off.  No appliances, furniture, etc.  These new credit accounts can affect your credit approval.  Keep in mind even if the retailer is offering no payments or no interest for the first twelve months, this will still trigger a credit alert and an estimated payment will be required to be included on your mortgage application.  So NO new accounts 
  4. Avoid transferring money between your accounts – a mortgage lender is required to verify all assets and this becomes a stressful task for many clients.  The source for any non payroll deposits has to be documented for each loan.  Be prepared to provide your mortgage lender with all bank account statements for all accounts and all pages of those statements

What you SHOULD do: 

  1. Be prompt, when a lender requests documentation.  Promptly gather the items and provide them for their review 
  2. Be thorough– when items are being requested, be sure to ask questions and read everything thoroughly so that you are providing the proper documents needed for your mortgage approval 
  3. Continue to pay any debt you currently have on time – late payments can affect your credit and this can affect your mortgage approval 
  4. Remember that mortgage professionals are required to make sure that all loan guidelines are met. Mortgage applications require a lot of documentation and gathering all of this can be stressful for you but the mortgage professionals are required to collect all of this information and they are attempting to help you obtain money for possibly the most important purchase of your life.  Communication is key: if you find yourself getting frustrated, speak to your mortgage professional about how you can assist to complete the process 
  5. Stay excited and continue with any self care routine you may have in place.  You are buying a home and it should be fun and exciting but know that obtaining a mortgage can get stressful and keeping with your normal self care routine can assist with the stress

Hopefully this small inside look into the mortgage process doesn’t scare you away from the great opportunity of owning a home of your own.  My husband and I work with local mortgage professionals that know how to make the process move as smoothly as possible with their many years of experience.  If you are prepared before buying your home with the knowledge, you are already a step ahead of most.  Please reach out to us with your home buying questions.

It’s Spring

It’s Spring, what does Spring make you think of?  Flowers, warmer weather?  For me it makes me think home maintenance and maybe that is the Realtor coming out of me.  I wanted to provide you with a quick list of Spring home maintenance items.  If you make a habit of doing these items, I promise it will help with maintaining the value of your home, which was probably the biggest purchase of your life.

INDOOR

  1. Thoroughly clean the interior of your home from top to bottom,including those appliances that some neglect throughout the year
  2. Change the smoke detector batteries 
  3. Change the air filters in your furnace 
  4. Check caulking around tubs/sinks – water is quick to cause a lot of damage to a home and something as simple as caulking can make a big difference

OUTDOOR

  1. Clean out your gutters – these tend to fill with leaves and debris which can cause damage to your home when left go 
  2. Do a visual inspection of the exterior of your home – look at the roof, siding, brickwork, etc.  If you spot something that you are uncertain about, call a professional.  Most times when a problem is caught early, it can save you money
  3. Touch up exterior paint – do you have any chipped peeling paint, maybe you want a new color for your front door? Making sure your paint is well kept also protects the wood from rotting and deteriorating 
  4. Have your A/C unit serviced by a professional – this extends the life of your unit and ensures a cool comfortable summer with working A/C
  5. Power wash exterior – power wash your siding and walkways cleaning away the winter grime
  6. Clear out gardens and fertilize the lawns 
  7. Maintenance your lawn mower for the upcoming cutting season 

Maintaining a home is a very important part of home ownership.  I explain to many first time new homebuyers that you need to include the cost of doing this in their budget.  You want to protect your investment so you can enjoy it for many years.  

Over the years my husband and I have come in contact with professionals in many industries that can help with home maintenance (plumbing, HVAC, lawn care, etc) and would be happy to talk to you if you have concerns and are in need of some help.  A well maintained home sells much quicker then a home that was neglected over the years.

Homeowner’s Insurance – What do you know?

Insurance: what is it and do I need it when I own or buy a home?  Some people confuse homeowner’s insurance with a home warranty.  Insurance is not going to fix your furnace when it dies or replace your stove when it won’t heat anymore.  Insurance covers your home against perils, that is fire, snow, hail, wind, water, theft, vandalism, etc.  So, yes you do want to be sure to have insurance for your home and you will be required to have it if you have a mortgage that financed the purchase of your home. 

The first step to the insurance process is to ensure you have a knowledgeable professional assisting you with your insurance needs.  They need to be able to answer all of your questions and concerns for your personal property as well as your home.  Having an insurance professional that works for a broker is a very good option as it will allow them to “shop” for the best insurance rates for you.  Each insurance company offers different coverages and rates and a broker can offer you multiple choices versus an insurance professional that works directly for only one insurance company.  

Premiums: what affects the cost you pay for your insurance?  There are actually six factors that can play a part in this yearly cost.  

  1. Credit score – yes the higher your credit score, the lower your premium cost is going to be.
  2. Age of your home – this comes into play because the older a home, the more an insurance company feels will go wrong with that home, like older pipes, older electrical, etc.  This all equals more risk for them. 
  3. Location of your home – the location plays a role as to where the home is located in relation to a fire hydrant or fire house – this is called your protection class and is based on a level from 1 to 10.  On average most homes are a “3” and the highest normally will be a “9” with a “10” being something much too far from either, creating such a risk that an insurance company may not agree to cover the home at all. 
  4. Home features – this goes back to the risk for the insurance company again.  So if a home has features they consider a higher risk like a pool, wood stove, trampoline, they will increase the premium to accommodate them for this risk. 
  5. Animals that reside in your home – Dogs, in particular, can cause an insurance company to decline coverage altogether or at a much higher premium.  Most insurance companies have a list of dog breeds that they do not allow. 
  6. Education – yes, you actually get a discount for that masters degree you earned.  The higher your education, the more of a discount you can get from an insurance company. Not sure I understand this one myself, but I do like a discount. 

Most insurance companies will complete a home inspection after obtaining the insurance coverage with them.  This is to assess the home for any risks or hazards like cracks in sidewalks, missing siding, missing shingles, etc.  Keep this in mind when you are shopping for insurance and know that you will be provided a timeframe to complete the repairs to continue coverage. 

This week I collaborated with Jolie Loring, an Insurance Advisor with McNamara Financial in York, PA.  Jolie is a professional we work with often due to her diligence and knowledge that she exhibits with each client we send her.  We cannot stress more the importance of having a strong team of professionals working for you.  We have established many of these relationships over the years so that we can assist buyers, sellers and homeowners. 
If you think you would like to have your insurance needs reviewed, you should reach out to Jolie.  She can be reached by email at jolie@mcnamarafinancial.net OR by telephone at 717-781-2933.  She has saved our clients and myself thousands of dollars over the years.

Selling A Home

Are you on the fence about selling your home? Has your family size outgrown your current home?  Maybe you are looking to downsize because retirement is around the corner or maybe a new job is on the horizon which requires you to leave the area. Whatever the reason may be there are many things to consider and to know in advance of taking that leap. 

Picking an Agent:

Picking a real estate agent is going to be a very important part of the process. I personally recommend interviewing your real estate agent options. Get a feel for who you are most comfortable working with. Ask them questions that concern you and make sure they are answering those questions. 

Commission:

Real estate commission is a tough discussion…. Everyone wants the best deal and to pay the least amount out in cost, but is that really the best option for you? An agent will in most cases negotiate from the standard 6% commission rate but do you really want to pay them less?  Does this mean the agent is less experienced, less confident in their skills? Not always but yes sometimes it does mean these things. A real estate agent may negotiate a lower rate when you are purchasing a home with them and they will have two deals with you. Some will lower the commission for less services offered. Make sure the agent you choose has the skills, knowledge and experience you want and need to sell your home. 

Determining a Sales Price:

Sales price is another touchy subject. A real estate agent can suggest a price based off of the current market, the location of your home and the condition of your home (see where skills, knowledge and experience come in handy). This home has been your home for however many years and most people become very emotional during the sale of their home. But it is best to place your emotions aside to consider the actual data, not confusing the value (what a buyer is willing to pay for your) home with the actual price or cost of your home (what you paid for your home, how much money you put into your home). If you price your home too high you won’t get any showings meaning no buyers are going to even see your home, you won’t get them in the front door. Pricing your home correctly right away gets those buyers in your home and those offers in front of you. 

Prepare Your Home:

The current data for York County as of end of February indicates that the average days on the market for a home is 9 days. Wow! I recommend prepping your home in advance for the sale. Your real estate agent should be able to assist you with what projects should be done to optimize the sales price. You have one chance to make a great first impression on those buyers. You want to wow them when they walk in the door so that they know this is the home for them. 

Home Showing Appointments:

We recommend to all of our sellers to be sure to leave the home for showing appointments and to be sure to take your pets with you. There are so many individuals with pet allergies and who would want to create the extra stress on your beloved pet having strangers in their home while they are caged.

Offers:

Once an offer or hopefully multiple offers are received, your agent should be able to go over the details of each offer with you with confidence to explain each item and answer any of your questions (here’s where that skills, knowledge and experience comes in again). 

Home Inspections:

Next step would be after accepting an offer if there is any home inspection requested by the buyer. You will receive a copy of the inspection report along with any request the buyer might have for concerned items of repair. Your agent will be able to go over this report with you and let you know your options (again skills, knowledge and experience, do you see a pattern here). 

Closing Day:

Finally your closing day has arrived and you will be receiving a check and the buyers will be receiving keys. This should be a happy day but can also be an emotional day. Your home should be cleared of personal items, swept clean and ready for it’s new loving owners. A final walk-through will be completed by the buyer with their agent. You’ve sold your home. 

My husband and my years of experience, vast knowledge, negotiating skills above others, honesty and pure service of others helps us stand out as real estate agents. We are confident in both listing and selling homes. We would be available to be interviewed if you are considering a home sale. Home inventory is low and we would like to add your home to our list of sold homes.

BUYING TIPS IN A SELLER’S MARKET

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A quick definition of a seller’s market, this is when the demand for homes exceeds the supply of homes.  Currently interest rates are at a record low and many individuals are taking advantage of these low rates to purchase a home.  Most are finding that the monthly mortgage payments on a home purchase are lower than they are currently paying in rent.  This all equals LOTS of buyers.  I have some tips I’d like to offer to buyers during a seller’s market. 

Buyers should analyze their search area with their real estate professional well in advance, so that they can be prepared for the prices of the homes similar to their needs.  

Buyers should be pre-approved.  They need to be prepared to make an offer. The seller needs to see that they have prepared for this and have aligned themselves with a team of professionals to help complete the purchase.  

Buyers need to make an appointment with their real estate professional as soon as a home goes on the market.  Homes are selling at a rapid pace and if a buyer doesn’t jump to see it right away, the home will be sold before even getting to see it. 

Buyers need to be ready to act.  Once they have seen the home they will need to be ready to make that offer.  If a buyer takes too long to decide if it is the “perfect” home they may miss out. 

Buyers need to put their best foot forward.  They should be ready to place their highest and best offer.  When the demand for homes is so high with so little inventory they wouldn’t want to realize that they let the home of their dreams pass by because they were trying to haggle on the price.  

Those are my tips for a home buyer in a seller’s market.  My husband and I work with buyers and sellers daily and hope that you found this information helpful.  

Buying a home in your twenties

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Buying a home in your twenties…. can it be done why absolutely. I bought my very first home when I was only nineteen years old. Thinking of the economics of it, you need a place to live and you are going to pay for those four walls and a roof, why not invest in yourself and purchase versus paying a landlord’s home off with your monthly rental payments. So how do you go about buying your first home…….

  • STABLE EMPLOYMENT obviously is a must but I put in there “stable” because there is nothing more stressful than having a home and not knowing how you will continue to pay your mortgage and the maintenance. Working hard to establish yourself a secure position helps secure your financial future.
  • CREDIT – yes you will most likely need to finance your home purchase and you will need to have credit to do so. Start off with a small simple credit card to pay for every day expenses. The key is to pay this bill in full each month so that you are not placing yourself into unnecessary debt but that you are establishing a credit history for future creditors to determine if you are creditworthy.
  • PRE-APPROVAL – once you have the job and you have the credit established before you look at any homes you will want to work with a reputable lender to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This prepares you for the sales price range you will be in. Keep in mind most lenders will pre-approve you for well more than your personal budget for that monthly housing so be sure to write down a budget to know what you are personally comfortable with paying.
  • ESTABLISH A TEAM – you want to have a team of professionals working for you at this point. LENDER, REALTOR, HOME INSPECTOR, TITLE COMPANY. These are all examples of professionals you will want to team up with to make sure that you have a great first time home buying process. Most Realtors will have a good list for you to start with. Do your research make sure that you feel comfortable with the professionals you work with and that they answer all of your questions. Working with local professionals is best as they will know and understand the market you are in and be best prepared to assist you with this very important purchase

Getting those keys on your settlement day is so exciting.  Know that you can do it with hard work and determination, anything is possible.