Choosing the Right Agent

canstockphoto33930262You need an advocate when purchasing a home. The right agent will be an indispensable asset in your house search. An excellent agent will have these qualities:

  1. Education – Professional and successful agents have advanced training and education. This knowledge has earned them prestigious designations in the real estate field and has advanced them to be among the top agents in the world.
  2. Experience & Expertise – You want a full-time agent who is knowledgeable about the area and the types of properties you’re seeking. You also will want them to be tech-savvy in marketing and advertising strategies.
  3. Availability – Your agent should promptly and decisively act during the purchasing process. They should make a point to keep in touch with you and update you consistently. They should be easy to reach and available on nights and weekends for open houses and when most sellers are showing their homes.
  4. Excellent references – They should have great references including rapport and credentials. Ask them for a list of references to see how others’ experiences have been with this agent. Above all, they should genuinely be committed to addressing your needs, interests and concerns every step of the way.

If selling your current home, your agent also will help you assess what your property is worth. Independent property seller often over estimate the value of their property. Avoid this by selecting the perfect real estate agent for all of your real estate needs.

Is This Your Year For Finally Buying A Home?

With Utah’s strong economy and affordable housing market, it comes to know surprise that more millennials are turning towards home ownership. Already in Ogden and Clearfield, an estimated 39.8% of new homes were to sold to those between 25 and 35, according to Builder.com home-1194442_640

For first time home buyers, purchasing a home can be an intimidating experience. As you start the process to toward buying a home, take some time to ask yourself these questions to make sure you understand what you’re getting into. If you’re not prepared, home ownership can stretch you financially.

Once you’ve decided your ready to buy a home, take a moment to get pre-approved by your bank, credit union, or a mortgage lender can help you get a home loan. This is also a great to time to talk to them to find how much you can afford. Be aware of the extra costs and taxes (property taxes, HOA fees if you’re buying a townhouse or condo, etc).

A real estate agent can help you during this process of finding a home and is there to answer all your questions. If you’re ready to move forward in buying a home, give us a call and let us help you find your dream home.

8 Costs To Consider When Buying A Home

plants-in-pots-818718_1280Buying a home can be a fun and stressful time. If you’re a first time home buyer, there are some costs (these tend to get overlooked) you should know about before entering into homeownership. Before buying a home, be prepared for these 8 costs:

  1. Mortgage payments. Your mortgage is a long-term loan which is borrowed in order to purchase a home. In addition to repaying the principal amount borrowed, you’ll be required to pay interest to the lender. To help give you an idea of what your monthly payments will be, check out this mortgage calculator.
  1. Inspection fees. Because a home is most likely to be your biggest financial investment, you should have the home inspected before making an offer. This is when you know any repairs the home might need and can use this information as leverage while negotiating the price of the home. A home inspection can run up to a several hundred of dollars so you’ll want to be prepared for this upfront.
  1. Appraisal fees. Before you buy a home, you’ll be obligated (by your lender) to have the property valued by a professional real estate appraiser. In the past this fee was included in the closing costs, but is no longer that way as the appraiser needs to be paid regardless if the deal goes through.
  1. Private mortgage insurance. If you put a down payment that is less than 20% of the home’s price, you’ll be required (in most cases) to take out a private mortgage insurance policy. According to Mortgage Insurance Companies of America, a home costing around $200,000 can expect a monthly premium between $50-$100 per month. Ideally, the closer to the 20% down payment, the better your monthly payments will be.
  1. Closing costs. As you prepare to sign the closing documents on your home, be prepared to pay closing costs  and any other assorted fee. The closing costs usually include processing fees, underwriting fees, recording fees, survey fees, and title insurance fees; these can run up to thousands (2-3% of the mortgage loan amount) of dollars. When applying for a loan, be sure to speak with your lender and make sure these fees are included in the loan.
  1. Homeowners insurance. This is critical to have to protect yourself against rebuilding, repair, or replacement costs in the event of a major disaster or theft. If you borrow money from a lender, you’ll be required to purchase homeowners insurance. Before buying a home, talk to your insurance agent and ask for a quote to get a sense of how much it will cost so you can budget accordingly.
  1. Property taxes. These taxes are charged by the local government for public expenses, such as schools, parks, and sidewalks. The seller or seller’s real estate agent can provide you with the current annual tax on the property is. Also, be sure to find out when the next tax assessment is scheduled and if it will be increased by the sale of the home.
  1. Utilities. Once you find your dream home, ask the seller to provide you with a record of a year’s worth of utility bills to get a sense of how much you need to budget for utilities (heating, cooling, electricity, gas, and water). Also, take into account the differences in family size.

As you move forward in the process of buying a home, your real estate agent can answer any of your questions. Ready to buy? Give us a call today and let us help you make your homeownership dream come true.

Prequalified vs. Preapproved: Do You Know The Difference?

savings-440782_1280Are you ready to buy a home but aren’t sure which step to take first? As you move forward in the home buying process, the first thing you need to know is how much of a home you can afford. To know what you qualify for, in terms of a financial loan, is to speak with your bank, credit union, or mortgage officer to find out how much you can borrow.

When you meet with your loan officer, it’s important to understand certain key terms in the home buying process. Two of those keywords are: prequalified vs. preapproved. These two terms can be confusing, especially to those who are new to real estate. When it comes to these two terms, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Prequalified. This is the initial screening done by the lender (bank, credit union, etc) to see have much money you qualify to borrow. This is where you’re given an estimate on what you may be able to borrow, but is not set in stone. It’s also important to note that, as prequalified only, this won’t hold much weight when you’re trying to make an offer on a home.

Preapproved. To be preapproved, this process digs deeper and requires some additional financial information. During this time, you may be asked to provide bank statements, tax returns, and proof of employment. Remember, even when preapproved for a home loan, it’s not official until the application process is complete. Once you receive your approval letter, you have 90 days before the letter expires and to make an offer on the home.

If you’re ready to start the process in finding your dream home, give us a call today. We’re ready to answer all your questions and help you to make the move to homeownership.

Choosing Which Home is Best for You

When it comes to buying a home, one thing you need to consider is what is your best option: townhouse vs condo vs house? Each have their own pros and cons and you need to decide what best fits your lifestyle.

houses-691586_640As you first decide which option is best for you and your family, consider: your location and lifestyle; maintenance costs; rules of ownership; lending and price; and monthly fees.

If you are a first-time home-buyer, you may not want to responsibilities or have the time for home maintenance. A condo or townhouse may be the perfect option for first-time buyers because association fees cover maintenance and repairs. In addition, condos and townhouses are more preferable for those who aren’t interested in homeowner responsibilities or yard care.

A downside of condos and townhouses are you have little control over annual fee increases and unforeseen special assessments.Although condos and townhouses can have assessment fees, single-family homes can have their share repairs that can hit the owner with a large bill.

In the end, you will need to weigh the pros and cons associated with each option and decide which best fits your lifestyle and future goals.

Find Your Power Through Financial Freedom

I recently came across an article by the financial guru, Suze Orman, about “What Money Has Taught Me About Personal Power.” Throughout the article, she touches upon some excellent points I feel can apply to anyone’s life. Regardless of how much you make, what debt you have, or whatever else has happened in your life, you can take back your power and not let money control you.Small hands

Out of the six topics she touches upon in her piece, the two that stood up to me were: 1) Do what’s right, not what’s easy and 2) How you respect your possessions says a lot about how you respect yourself.

Do What’s Right, Not What’s Easy. She touches upon some excellent points in this section because it is so easy to run up credit card debt. Suze Orman suggests you ask yourself three questions: Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it true? And you should answer yes to all three questions before lending money or cosigning on anything.

How You Respect Your Possessions Says A Lot About How You Treat Yourself. I found this one to be extremely interesting because as the saying go, your outer world reflects your inner world. In the piece, she advises you ask yourself what were you feeling the last time you bought your last item? How did it make you feel?

While you get in touch with your inner power surrounding money, now is a good time to clean out all the clutter in your home and reclaim your power. Here are some great tips through feng shui.

 

Why You Should Buy Now

The decision to buy your home is not always the easiest one to make. How do you know if you are ready? Is it cost effective to own your own home? Whatever has you dragging your feet at buying a home, here are some things to consider:success

First of all, with the interest rates rising, now is the best time to buy. Picture this, if you buy a home today that costs $250,000 at a 4.41% interest rate, your mortgage payment would be $1,253.38. However, if you decide to wait another year before buying a home, with the interest and mortgage rates rising, the same home costs $270,000 at a 5.7%, your monthly payment for the same house will be $1,567.08 – that is a $313.70 difference! Now look at the bigger picture, if you stay in the home for 30 years, if you bought the home at the lower interest rate you will have saved $112,932…just think what you could do with that extra chunk of change.

Buying a home also gives you the luxury of making the place your own. Unlike with an apartment, you have the freedom to decorate however you want, remodel, and alter the landscaping. Plus, there is the incentive of actually owning your own property which, if or when you sell, will bring you a nice return on your investment.

What are some of your fears or hesitations about owning your home? Give us a call today and let us answer your questions. We are here to help you find the right home for you.

Before You Buy, Ask Yourself These Questions

Buying a new home can be exciting, but extremely stressful at the same time. There are so many things to take into consideration; knowing what you can afford, getting pre-approved, and finding a qualified real estate agent to help you through the whole process. Then of course there is finding your dream home and knowing exactly what you want and don’t want.Ranch_style_home_in_Salinas,_California

Before buying a home, take a moment to ask yourself some important questions. If you know where you stand, you will have an easier time moving forward with purchasing your next home.

    1. Don’t buy if you can’t stay put. If you can’t commit to staying in a home for at least a couple of years, buying is probably not the best decision for you.
    2. Aim for a home you can afford. Make sure you know how much you can afford, don’t stretch yourself too thin.
    3. Get professional help. A professional real estate agent can help you find the perfect home and assist you strategize the bidding process.
    4. Choose carefully between points and rate. When choosing the right mortgage for you, if you are planning on staying in the home for a long time it is usually better to take the points for a lower interest rate in the long run.
    5. Do your homework before bidding. Know what the sales trends are in the area so you have a clear estimate on what to bid. Your real estate agent can help you here.

For first time homebuyers, there are some further, basic questions to ask yourself such as, how to choose a home, how to make an offer, and transitioning from being a renter to an owner which can help make the home buying process easier.

When moving forward with buying a home, it is recommended to put a down payment of 20% on your home, although it is possible to get a loan with less down. Regardless to how much you can afford to put down, it is important to know how much house you can afford.

Dave Ramsey has some great advice for potential home buyers when making the decision to buy a home along with 3 mistakes to avoid.

Share your thoughts. Is there anything you would add? What do you wish you’d known when you bought your first home?