Karen Scopetski's Blog
Buying a home is one of those things in life that requires you to take a certain order of steps to complete the process. First, you’ll need to save up some money for a down payment and all of the other costs that go along with buying a home. Next, you’ll take a look at what you can afford and perhaps get pre-qualified. Then, you’ll hire a realtor and begin searching for properties. Finally, you’ll make an offer, sign for the mortgage and close on the home. After that, you’ll probably buy some furniture and paint the walls to make yourself feel at home.
Would you ever dream of making that big home purchase without actually seeing the property first? One of the most time-consuming parts of the home buying process is that of viewing homes and visiting property after property.
There are actually many reasons that a buyer might buy a property without seeing it first. With the Internet, it’s fairly easy to get an idea of what a house might be like. Too, if you’re an investor, it’s sometimes worth the gamble to scoop up a property at the right price in order to score a great deal.
It’s also usually not detrimental to buyers who are trying to get a home in a high competition market to go after places they really love immediately. The early bird does get the worm, right?
Properties in distress may be in poor condition, but for the right buyer can be a great deal. Banks want to get rid of these places as soon as possible due to the expenses incurred by keeping them.
Not all properties that are bought sight unseen are fixer uppers. Some properties can be bought in the pre-construction phase. These homes haven’t been built but are already on the market available for purchase. Many times, buying properties this way can be cheaper than buying the new construction home after it’s built.
There are obviously many risks to buying a home sight unseen. First, pictures can be deceiving. You never really know what you’re walking into until you see it. Photographs can easily hide major damage. Until a home is physically inspected, you may not know what the costs will be to repair it.
The same risks apply to new construction homes. The layout of the home may not be what you’re looking for, or the home may not include the features that you want.
When you do decide to buy a home sight unseen you need to weigh the risk versus the reward in the transaction. It can be a valuable decision, in the long run, to take a chance on buying a home that you haven’t been able to physically inspect.
Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases that you’ll ever make in your lifetime. You’ll spend decades of your life making mortgage payments to pay off your home loan. Buying a home is more than just simply finding a place to live. It’s also a financial decision. Your home helps you to build equity, gives you tax deductions, and helps you to have some security in your financial future.
One of the biggest questions that you’ll have when you buy a home is “How much can I spend?” To answer this question, you’ll need to dig a little deeper.
Do You Have Money For A Down Payment?
The standard amount of money that you’ll need for a down payment is 20 percent of the purchase price of a home. If you don’t have the money for a full down payment, you’ll need to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). This could add up to be an extra cost of hundreds of dollars per month in additional insurance payments on top of your mortgage and every other kind of expense that goes along with buying a home. You’ll need to take the time to save up for a down payment if you’re a first time homebuyer. If you already own a home, the equity that you have in that home can help you with the down payment.
What Are Your Other Financial Responsibilities?
There’s more to buying a home than just the monthly mortgage payment. You’ll need to get insurance, pay taxes, and have some money set aside for repair and decorating costs. You’ll need to look at your monthly income to find out just how much you can afford on a home. You should take an honest look at your lifestyle and existing expenses in order to determine a comfortable monthly mortgage payment for you.
Know Your Credit Score
Your credit score will be a major factor in how much house you’ll be able to afford. Your lender will use your credit score and credit history to help determine what type of interest rate you’ll get and how much they’re willing to lend you in order to buy a home.
Understanding what you can afford for a home purchase is crucial before you even start shopping. It’s a good idea to meet with a lender to get pre-qualified. This is different than getting pre-approved. Your lender will give you a general idea of how much you can spend on a home without digging too deep into your finances. Getting pre-qualified is a great place to start when you’re looking at the numbers of being a homeowner.
Getting a home inspection is usually built into the purchase contract for most real estate transactions. A home inspection contingency protects the buyer from getting any unwelcome surprises after they buy the home (think water damage or an HVAC system whose days are numbered).
In some cases, home inspections are the defining moment between a sale or moving on to other options.
In today’s post, we’re going to talk about the reasons you might want to get a home inspection whether you’re buying or selling a home.
Home inspections for buyers
There’s a reason most real estate contracts come with an inspection contingency. Expensive, impending repairs on a home can greatly affect how much you’re willing to offer on a home, or if you’re willing to make an offer at all.
Some buyers opt out of an inspection. This can be done for numerous reasons. The most common reason is that the buyer has a personal relationship with the seller and has faith that they are getting the full story when it comes to the state of the house. The other reason is that a buyer is trying to gain a competitive edge over the competition on a home, sweetening the deal by waiving the inspection and paving the way for a quick sale.
Both of these reasons have their flaws. For one, the seller might not even know the full extent of the repairs a home may need and an appraisal might not catch all of the issues with a home.
Another reason a buyer may waive an inspection contingency is because the seller claims to have recently had the home inspected. While this may be true, buyers should still opt to hire their own professional. This way, they can guarantee that the inspection was done by someone who is licensed and has their best interests in mind.
Home inspections for sellers
As we’ve seen, home inspections are typically designed to protect the interest of home buyers. However, sellers also stand to gain from ordering their own home inspection.
If you’re planning on selling within the next six months to a year, it will pay off to know exactly what issues the home currently has or will have in the near future. This will give you the chance to make repairs or address issues that could cause complications with your sale. You don’t want to be on your way to closing on an offer to suddenly realize you need to pay and arrange for a new roof.
So, whether you’re a buyer or seller, home inspections can be immensely beneficial to learn more about your home or the home you’re planning on buying. It will help you be prepared to make repairs if you’re a buyer. Or, if you’re a seller, you can make a plan to negotiate repairs with the seller based on the findings of the inspection.
Ready to discover your dream home? With help from your loved ones, you may be able to accelerate your journey from homebuyer to homeowner.
Ultimately, there are many reasons to include family members and friends in your search for the perfect home, including:
1. Loved ones are happy to help you in any way they can.
Loved ones have your best interests in mind and will do whatever they can to assist you. That way, you can get extra help as you embark on the homebuying journey.
Before you begin your home search, it may prove to be helpful to meet with loved ones so that you can explain your homebuying goals to them. This will allow you to describe what you'd like to find in your dream home. Plus, meeting with loved ones gives family members and friends an opportunity to ask you questions about your home search.
If you and your loved ones are all on the same page, you'll be able to get ample support as you prepare to kick off your home search. Then, you and your loved ones can check out a broad array of houses and find one that matches or exceeds your expectations.
2. Loved ones can share their homebuying experiences with you.
For those who are entering the real estate market for the first time or have not purchased a house in several years, it may be beneficial to involve loved ones in the property buying process.
Loved ones who have recently purchased homes can provide real estate insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. They can respond to your homebuying concerns and queries and help you prepare to enter the housing market.
Also, loved ones may be able to help you avoid potential pitfalls as you search for the ideal residence. Although some family members and friends may have made mistakes when they bought homes in the past, your loved ones can help you learn from their errors and ensure you can avoid various homebuying pitfalls.
3. Loved ones can help you make tough homebuying decisions.
Let's face it – the decision to buy a home is one of the biggest that an individual may make in his or her lifetime. As such, the decision to purchase a home is not one that should be taken lightly.
Loved ones are happy to listen to your homebuying concerns time and time again. They can offer suggestions and recommendations as you explore homes and help you remain calm, cool and collected at each stage of the homebuying journey.
Of course, if you want additional assistance during the homebuying journey, it never hurts to hire an expert real estate agent. This housing market professional can set up home showings, negotiate with home sellers on your behalf and provide comprehensive homebuying support at any time.
Reach out to loved ones for support as you get ready to search for your dream home. By doing so, you may be able to speed up the homebuying process.
As the workforce changes and a growing number of companies seek out contractors and freelancers, many Americans find themselves in a gray area when it comes to their income. They may put in full-time hours, but on their taxes they work for themselves.
Mortgage lenders are cautious about who they lend to. They want to make sure you are a low-risk investment who has reliable, predictable income to ensure that they’ll earn money off of your loan.
This can sometimes make it difficult for freelancers, contract workers, or the self-employed. Not only might your taxes be unconventional, but your income could vary depending on the time of the year and the amount of business you receive.
It’s easy to see why many people would be anxious about applying for a mortgage under these circumstances. However, if you’re self-employed, there’s no need to worry. You can still get approved for a mortgage at a fair interest rate--you just need to do a bit of work to provide the right documents to your lender.
In this article, we’ll show you what documents and proof of income you’ll likely need and how to present it to a lender to make the process run as smoothly as possible to get you approved for your mortgage. Here’s what you need to do.
Organize your records
Before applying for a mortgage, it’s a good idea to take a look at your record-keeping process. As a self-employed worker, you’re probably already used to tracking your own income. However, this will help the lender analyze your income easier and move the process along more quickly.
Having a master spreadsheet of your dated invoices, paid amounts, and the names of your clients is a good place to start. You’ll also want detailed, easy to read information for your previous employers, landlords, references, and any other information you think will be pertinent.
Next, gather your tax documents for the last three to five years. As a self-employed worker, you likely file a Schedule C (Form 1040) and a Schedule SE. Make sure you have copies of these forms.
Dealing with deductions
Many self-employed workers write off business expenses in their tax returns. Travel expenses, internet, and other costs associated with doing business are all ways to save by reducing your taxable income. Doing so can save you money, but it can also reduce your net income which is what lenders will see when you provide them with your information.
If you’re hoping to get approved for a bigger loan, one solution is to plan your taxes in the year prior to applying for a mortgage. Make fewer deductions than you normally would to increase your net income.
Be ready to clarify
When a mortgage lender is reviewing your information, make sure you are open and available to provide any information that can be helpful to them in considering your application. Being prompt and accurate with your responses will signal to your lender that you are willing to work with them.