Buying a Home

5 Steps to Take Before Buying Your First Home

House hunting is an exciting process, especially when it’s your first home. While it may feel stressful and overwhelming at times, there are ways to make the search easier. Here are five steps to take before looking for your dream home:

1. Set Your Budget. The first thing you need to do before looking at any homes is set your budget. It’s a waste of time to look at homes that are out of your price range. If you aren’t sure what your budget should be, try an online calculator that tells you how much home you can afford. Knowing how much you can spend allows you to filter home options by price. The best way to find out how much you can afford is by getting pre-approved.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage. When you’re serious about buying...

How to Find the Down Payment for Your First Home

If you’re in the market for buying your first home, chances are you have some money saved but you might be worrying a bit about having enough for the down payment. This is especially true for millennials just a few years into the workforce who probably are just learning why their parents always told them to save some of their paycheck each week.

Sure, the prospect of saving enough might be difficult to digest when you’re eager to get house hunting, which is why sometimes it makes sense to explore some other means to get the money.

Below are some helpful hints to find the down payment you need.

Family:
Deep down you might be too proud to ask your parents for a handout, but that’s probably the easiest way...

New to Home Buying? Here’s Why You Should Consider a Starter Home

When people think about their first home, rarely do they think about small rooms, little closet space or a yard that barely has room for some lawn chairs. But for those who want to buy their first home, especially millennials just starting in their careers, sometimes they need to realize that their dream house is probably not going to be the first house they buy.

Starter homes should not be considered “bad” though, and many of these homes have great character and provide people with that same great feeling of being a homeowner. After all, the idea of finally buying a home is to gain that independence and call something your own.

By buying a starter home, you will be on the road to establishing credit, which will be helpful when you’re ready to move on to...

Should You Buy a Model Home?

When a new subdivision is being constructed, builders typically show a model home to prospective buyers. A model house is often filled with amenities and offered at relatively low prices, but there are downsides to consider before buying one.

Benefits of a Model Home
Most buyers of homes in a new subdivision need to wait for their houses to be built, but a model home is in move-in condition. Model houses may have granite countertops and top-of-the-line appliances to attract buyers. In some cases, the furniture is included in the deal.

Buyers of new homes sometimes find that the natural process of settling causes noises and cracks that require repairs. Those problems will have been addressed before a model house is sold.

Drawbacks...

4 Things to Know about Purchasing a Second Home

Often, those looking to purchase an additional home get confused between a second home and an investment property. However, the two are not interchangeable – especially when it comes to their financing.

Second Home, Defined
A second home is real property that the homeowner intends to occupy in addition to their primary residence for part of the year. Usually, second homes are used as vacation homes. Second homes may also be properties that the homeowner visits on a regular basis.

Examples of second homes may include:

  • A condo in a city where you frequently conduct business
  • A beach house that you and your family occupy during the summer months
  • A house in a different state where you have seasonal work
  • ...

Can You Get a Mortgage After Foreclosure?

No homeowner wants to face foreclosure, but unforeseen problems can arise at any time. If you have lost your house, don’t despair. If you wait a period of time and rebuild your credit, you can once again own your own home.

How Long Do You Have to Wait to Get a Government Mortgage?
You might be able to get a mortgage through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) three years after the foreclosure is finalized. If you want to get a loan from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, you will need to wait seven years, unless you fell behind on your mortgage payments due to extenuating circumstances, you meet maximum loan-to-value guidelines, or you use the new mortgage to purchase a residence or to refinance and get limited cash out.

If you want to buy a house in a designated rural area, you might be able to...

Who Pays Closing Costs When a House in Foreclosure Is Purchased?

If you are looking for a new home and have limited funds, a foreclosed property might be a bargain. Foreclosed homes are often sold below market price. If you find one in good condition, you may be able to get a lot more house than you would otherwise be able to afford, but you need to consider all potential expenses.

Don’t Forget About Closing Costs
Closing costs are fees to process a mortgage, perform a title search and satisfy other requirements to transfer ownership of a property. They typically total about 2 to 5 percent of the sale price, depending on the location and the companies involved in each aspect of the process, and are usually paid by the buyer.

When purchasing a house, people sometimes don’t think about closing...

Dispelling the Myth of the 20 Percent Down Payment

Since hitting a low point of 63 percent in 2016, the homeownership rate has rebounded, largely driven by millennial households purchasing their first homes. Many surveys, like one by Bank of the West, indicate that millennials are no different from previous generations—they view homeownership as a main tenet of the American Dream.

Yet, millennial homeownership rates continue to lag those of their predecessors. In 2015, the millennial homeownership share was lower than that of the two previous generations when they were the same age,...

Expert Insights: What Is Seller Financing?

Also known as a purchase money mortgage, it is when the seller agrees to “lend” money to the buyer to purchase and close on the seller’s home. Usually sellers do this when money is tight, interest rates are high or when a buyer has difficulty qualifying for a conventional loan or meeting the purchase price.

Seller financing differs from a traditional loan because the seller does not actually give the buyer cash to complete the purchase, as does the lender. Instead, it involves issuing a credit against the purchase price of the home. The buyer executes a promissory note or trust deed in the seller’s favor.

The seller may take back a second note or finance the entire purchase if he owns the home free and clear. The buyer makes a sizable down payment and agrees to pay the seller directly...