Questions You Must Ask When Searching For Your New Home

When it comes to finding your dream home, it can take some time to find the perfect place just for you. There are so many factors which go into finding the right home and the home buying process. As you begin your due diligence in researching the area and getting know your potential neighbors, finding the right schools, hiring a real estate agent, and making sure the home you fall in love with is in your price range (check out this great calculator tool).

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Before you move forward towards homeownership, take some time to chat with a loan officer to find out what kind of mortgage you can afford. If you’re not sure you can afford a home, you should also take some time to chat with a mortgage officer. There are various loans you may qualify for so make sure you get pre-approved first.

As you continue down the path towards homeownership, ask yourself these questions—

  • Why is the home for sell?
  • Are there some issues with the home you should be aware of?
  • What do you like most about the neighborhood? What don’t you like? Can you leave with it?
  • How long has the home been vacant? Why?
  • What is the water pressure like? Insulation in the attic?
  • How many drawers are in the kitchen? Is there enough counter space for you?
  • Do all the electrical outlets work?
  • Is the front door well insulated?

Your home is a place you can take pride in. Take some time now to find the best fit for you, something you can see yourself living in. Write down all the questions you have, what you can’t live without, what you’re willing to compromise on, and so on.

As you move down this path, let us help you find your dream home. We are here to answer all your questions and to assist you in finding your new home.

4 Homeownership Payment Programs To Know About

coins-currency-investment-insuranceMortgage payments are a part of homeownership. In your due diligence, you may feel a bit overwhelmed by the idea of saving up for a home, but if you break it down into smaller steps you can feel a little more in control.

As you begin your path towards homeownership, here are 4 low-down payment programs to be aware of:

  • GSE-backed loans. These are government-sponsored (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) enterprises which help to drive the mortgage market and are backed by loan-to-value loans. Learn more on what you might qualify for with this great calculator.
  • FHA. Through participating lenders, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) provides 3.5% down payment mortgages for those who qualify. Compared to more conventional mortgages, these types of loans are easier to qualify for and have slightly lower rates.
  • VA. Veterans Administration (VA) loans are eligible to veterans and active duty servicemembers and their families. This type of loan require no down payment or mortgage insurance.
  • USDA. For those living in rural and suburban areas, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (ISDA) offers low rates and 100% financing.

To learn more about these types of loans and what you qualify for, your loan officer can answer your questions and help you decide what type of mortgage is best for you.

7 Must Know Costs When Buying a Home

flowers-675949_1280When it comes to buying a home, there are many things to consider—getting pre-approved, finding your dream home, and your monthly mortgage—but there are some costs that get overlooked. As you begin the process towards home ownership, here are 7 costs and fees to be aware of:

  1. Home inspection. Your home is a huge investment, probably the biggest you’ll ever make, and you’ll want to have the home inspected before making an offer. If the home needs repairs, this will give you some leverage when making your negotiations on the price. A home inspection can cost a few hundred dollars, so make sure you’re prepared, financially, for this.
  1. Appraisal fees. Before buying a home, your lender will require you to have the property valued by a professional real estate appraiser. At one point, this was included in the closing costs, but is no longer done that way.
  1. Private mortgage insurance. Ideally, you want to put a downpayment of 20% of the price of the home. If you can’t put down 20%, in most cases, you’ll be obligated to take out a private mortgage insurance policy. Although the cost of this private insurance, on a home costing around $200,000 can expect to pay around $50-$100 per month.
  1. Closing costs. As you begin to close on your dream home, you’ll be expected to pay closing costs. The closing costs consist of processing fees, underwriting fees, recording fees, survey fees, and title insurance fees—all these fees add up to thousands of dollars (2-3% of the mortgage loan amount). When you apply for your home loan (aka getting pre-approved by your bank, credit union, or mortgage lender), make sure this closing fees are included in the loan.
  1. Homeowners insurance. This insurance is important to protect yourself against repairs or replacement costs if your home is damaged in a major event (earthquake, fire, hurricane, etc) or theft. There are various home insurance options so make sure while you’re talking with insurance agent to find out which insurance policy is your best option and get a quote so you can budget it into your expenses.
  1. Property taxes. Property taxes are set by the local government for public expenses, including, but not limited to, schools, parks, and sidewalks. The seller or seller’s agent can provide you with the annual costs of this. Also, find out when the next tax assessment is and if the property taxes will be raised due to the sale of the home.
  1. Utilities. While you prepare to make an offer on your dream home, ask the seller to provide you with a year’s worth of utility bills to determine what your monthly utility costs will be. Take into consideration of the difference of family size, a single person (in most cases) will pay less in utilities compared to a family of four.

If you’re ready to turn home ownership into a reality, give us a call today. We’re here to answer all your questions and help you find your dream home.

Important Real Estate Terms You Should Know

savings-440782_1280Regardless if you decide to hire a real estate agent to help you buy/sell your home or not, there are some key terms to know when it comes to real estate. Out of those key points, here are 3 real estate terms to know as you move forward in your home buying/selling process.

Pre-approval Letter.  Even before you start your search, you should speak with your bank, credit union, or a mortgage lender to find out what kind of home loan you qualify for. This information can help you and your real estate agent (if you choose to hire one) understand how much of a home you can afford. Another important issue you need to talk with you loan officer or mortgage lender about is closing costs and other fees to make sure they will be covered in your loan.

Fixed rate vs. Adjustable mortgage rate. As it sounds, a fixed mortgage rate is unmovable whereas an adjustable mortgage rate is subject to change throughout the course of the loan. Talk with your bank, loan officer, or credit union to find out which option is the best fit for you.

Buyers agent vs. Real estate agent. Real estate agents, also known as sales agents, are licensed to advise people on real estate issues. Most states require a real estate agent to complete a real estate course and pass a state and federal exam.

If you are interested in becoming a licensed sales agent in Utah please check out Utah Department of Commerce: Division of Real Estate for the necessary requirements and for further education check out the available courses for new agents.

Broker’s, on the other hand, are required to have more education and pass the brokers exam. Brokers are more liable and legally responsible for any mistakes made by agents or salespeople who work for them. If you are interested in becoming a broker in Utah visit Broker Registration site on the Utah Department of Commerce: Division of Real Estate page.

Homeowner Trends for 2015

Are you considering a remodel? Do you want to make your home more trendy? Are you looking to buy a home that is more up to style? Just curious to know what is popular? Wherever you stand on the topic, there are a lot of fun thing going on in real estate.

The first thing, and not surprising, is a home with storage space. Homeowners are looking for specialized storage in their homes where they can store things in a more. Walk-in closets and large pantries are other popular aspects to have in your home for maximized storage.

Having open spaces in your home is another growing trend especially among the younger crowd. People like having more room to socialize and entertain in their homes. Not ready to start knocking down walls? There are many tips and tricks to open up any space.

Include a fireplace or fire-pit into your home or landscaping design for is great to add warmth, ambiance, and romance. If you are trying to decide between a wood burning or electric fireplace, here are some pros and cons to consider.

In the end, no matter what the recent trends are, pick a home that you love and fits your lifestyle. What are some aspects in your home that are important to you? What do you love? What do you hate? Having a clear idea on what you are looking for, can help make the home-buying process a little easier.

Ready to buy or sell? Give me a call today and let me help you find your next dream home.

Benefits of Working with an Agent

Spring is right around the corner and with the warmer weather, people more inclined to buy a new home.

What some people don’t realize is when working with an agent, most clients actually end up with more money in their pockets and have less stress during the whole home buying experience.

Hiring a Realtor is free for home-buyers since sellers are the ones who pay their commission. For some people, there is an appeal of going it alone but there are a lot of benefits of working with an agent. One of those perks, when you work with an agent you will have more exposure on your home which can lead to more offers and more money.

To help market your home, Realtors use a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) which allows them to view homes right as they go on the market. With various fields, agents are able to narrow down on exactly what you are looking for to help you find your dream home before someone else does.

Home-buyers aren’t the only ones who benefit from working with an agent. Sellers also have an advantage to using a broker. In 2013, 18% of sellers reported the most difficult task was performing and understanding the paperwork; 14% said it was difficult to know if they were getting the right price for their home.

On average, a home sold for $230,000 with an agent compared to $184,000 when selling directly by owner.

Why not give us a call today and find out what we can do for you. We are committed to making sure you get everything you deserve.

Renting Vs Owning: What Is Best for You?

When it comes to buying a home, there is a lot to consider and weigh to make sure you are making the best choice. If you are still deciding if you should move from renting to owning, here are a few more things to take into consideration.smlight-bulb-3229-830x550

First thing, when you own your home you have more freedom to decorate, remodel, and/or alter the landscaping to fit your style. In addition to the flexibility to enhance your home, you gain a pride of ownership and belonging within the community. Last, but certainly not least, are the financial benefits of being a homeowner.

In an article put out by Keeping Current Matters, they looked at the financial benefits of why now is the best time to buy. Breaking it down why not is the best time to buy, financially, consider your dream home costs $250,000 today, at 4.41% interest, your monthly principle and interest mortgage payment would be $1,253.38. Then let’s say you decide to wait to own for another year, with the rates and prices increasing, the same home costs $270,000, at a 5.7% monthly interest. That makes your monthly payment at $1,567.08; a $313.70 difference in monthly payments. Now looking at it over the long term (30 years) you would have saved $112,932 over that time by buying now.

For some, the idea of taking on a mortgage can be intimidating, but consider this, no matter what you are paying on a mortgage ~ either yours or your landlords ~ regardless (unless you live with your parents). Taking that into consideration, wouldn’t you rather be paying on a mortgage that will benefit you in the long run not someone else?

A few other things to consider is that rent can always go up, whereas with your mortgage, it is a fixed payment. In addition, your mortgage payment could be tax deductible and you can build equity in your home.

What is holding you back from moving forward to buying your own home? Give me a call today at 801-774-1687 to find out what I can do for you to help you find your dream home.

Understanding the Home Buying Process

Right now, the benefits of owning your own home far outweigh renting. In addition to the pride of ownership, owning your home is a great investment, has tax advantages (in most cases), and allows you to build equity.  When moving forward with the purchasing a home, it is important to understand the home buying process to make sure you get the most out of your investment.

  • Hire a real estate agent. Hire a qualified agent to help you find your dream home and make the whole buying process easier. Real estate agents are here to help you, answer your questions, and make sure nothing is overlooked.
    • Shop for mortgage rates and terms. Even a half of a percent difference could mean huge savings for you in the long run. Speak with a mortgage lender to better understand the rates and what you qualify for.
    • Prequalify for a loan. If you go in to the home buying process knowing how much you can afford can make all the difference and let sellers know you are serious about moving forward in the home buying process.
    • Visit properties. Take time to shop around, see what you like and don’t like. Your real estate agent can be a huge help here by finding properties that will meet your placeit (1)needs and stay within your budget.
    • Research. Take the time to tour houses and talk with your agent about what features can help or hurt the resale value of your home. Take note of what you liked and didn’t like so you have a more concrete picture of what you want/need in a home.
    • Make an offer. Once you have narrowed in on your dream home, you will want to make an offer. Utilize your agent to help you negotiate and handle the financial and contractual side of the dealings.
    • Arrange a home inspection. After the offer has been accepted, you will want to set up a home inspection. Be sure to hire someone who is certified to check the home for leaks, cracked walls, or foundation problems. Note, you can negotiate repairs as part of the purchase.
    • Close. This is where you sign the final paperwork and receive the keys to your new home.
  • Prepare for your life in your new home. Now you can relax and get comfortable in your new home. Unpack and make the home your own.

Do you have any questions about the home buying process? Be sure to leave a comment and I will get back to you.

Growing Your Success

What does success look like to you? Do you see yourself as a success? In today’s world, we seem to emphasize success on how much money you make, if you are famous or not, but what about the teacher who inspires their students to never give up or the person who helps their neighbor?

Regardless of how you define success, if  you want a rewarding life you need to know what you want. What drives you to accomplish 14464606763_5473161990_zthings that keep moving your forward? Keep challenging yourself by setting new goals and discovering what you are capable of (and exceeding your wildest expectations).

According to Tony Robbins, life coach and motivational speaker, recommends that you to develop daily rituals to creating the life you want and giving power to your goals. Look at your goals, or the challenges you are facing in your life, and break them down into little bit size rituals. What could you accomplish in your life if you completed a small task every day? Remember the old saying, “how do you eat an elephant? One bit a time.”

What is one thing you would like to achieve in 2014? What is something you can start doing today to make your dreams come true?

Luxury Home Buying 101

When it comes to investing in a luxury home, many high-end properties are not listed on MLS or search engines. So how do you find the luxury home of your dreams? Hiring a qualified real estate agent who knows the market for luxury homes is the besSMapartment-design-inside-4703t person to talk to. In some cases, the agent may have inside information about a listing before it hits the open market.

When looking to buy a home, it is important to know the loan process for luxury homes typically take longer than a smaller mortgage. For a guidance on moving forward in the home buying process, the best person to speak with is a mortgage lender about what loan would be best for you, your purchase range, and much more. Many real estate agents recommend having your financing approval early on in the home buying purchase.

Be clear on what you are looking for and do your due diligence. Just like with other properties, it is important to take time to properly inspect the luxury home prior to purchase. This can take a little more time as specialized home inspectors may be required.

Are you interested in a luxury home? Give me a call today 801-774-1687 to further discuss what you are looking for.