Why A Home Inspection is Essential for Home Buyers


 

Why A Home Inspection is Essential for Home Buyers

 Like anything else in life, what you see when you look at a home is not always what you get. What might look like a charming Colonial on the outside can be riddled with problems on the inside—leaving you, the buyer, with a big mess.

Home inspection

Luckily, there’s something that can prevent this problem from plaguing you long after the “for sale” sign comes down: a home inspection.

Home inspections are a critical piece of the home buying puzzle because not only can they help you uncover potential problems but can help you address them in a timely and efficient manner so you can get to settling in your dream home.

General inspection

Above all else, you should have a standard inspection conducted, which checks the overall structure of the home, including the roof, electric, plumbing, and insulation—among other areas. The inspector should be able to detect any necessary repairs you may want to have the seller address before the purchase.

Radon inspection

While you should make sure the home is equipped with a radon detector, it’s also a good idea to have an inspector look for any areas of the home that may have increased levels of this colorless and odorless (but harmful) gas.

Well/sewer inspection

If the home you’re looking at purchasing has a well or septic tank, have both evaluated. Problems with water or sewage can lead to extremely costly repairs, which can be easily avoided with a simple inspection.

Quick Tips:

  • Try and be present for your home inspection. This can give insight into the process and the opportunity to ask questions on the spot.
  • Be prepared for bad news. It’s important to be realistic and understand that problems, big and small, are likely.
  • Do ask questions of the inspector, including what repairs he or she recommend before purchase, and what repairs may be able to wait until later.
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Student Loans vs. Home Buying


Student Loans vs. Home Buying

As the price of a college degree increases dramatically, so, too does student loan debt. Millions of Americans report that even more than a decade post-grad, they are still stuck with thousands of dollars in student loan debt – and that’s the average.

However, there is no reason to let the burden of student loans impact your decision to buy a home. With the right financial planning, you can end up in the home you desire without having to sacrifice your monthly loan payment.

Credit score.
Your credit score is perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle in securing a mortgage loan for your new home. Lenders want to see that you are reliable in paying off your debts, and, while student loan payments (if you’re making them regularly and on time) should not affect your score too much, other payments can. Make sure you are on top of other monthly payments such as your car, insurance, and credit cards. Missing these payments or paying the minimum amount will negatively impact your score over time.

The down payment.
A stressful thought, for sure—the down payment on your home is probably a big point of concern if you have a lot of built up debt as it is. The secret is that the perceived “20 percent down requirement” is not actually a requirement at all, but a suggestion. You don’t want to jump head first into a down payment if you know you can’t afford it, but don’t assume you have to put the maximum amount down in order to secure your ideal home.

Debt-to-income ratio.
You may have heard this phrase before or are at least experiencing the negative effects that student loans can have on this number. Either way, your debt-to-income ratio is the percentage of your income that is impacted by the amount of debt you carry. For some college grads, the ability to save even a little bit of money each month is impossible. But, like your credit score, your DTI is something banks will likely look at before offering a mortgage loan, so it’s important to keep this number in balance if you can.

Patience.
Whittling down student loan debt takes time for most people. It’s not uncommon to sit with this debt for upwards of fifteen to twenty years, so, above all, it’s important to be patient. If homeownership is your ultimate goal, be sure to give yourself a reasonable timeframe to get there so you don’t get overwhelmed and end up in an unfortunate financial position you can’t get out of.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.
As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

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The Three Most Popular Types of Mortgages


The Three Most Popular Types of Mortgages

Fixed-Rate Mortgage
This is the most common type of loan, and for good reason. With a fixed-rate loan, the interest rate remains the same throughout the loan’s duration, which is typically 15 or 30 years.
Who should use this loan?
Those who are interested in consistent housing payments or don’t plan to move anytime soon.

Adjustable-Rate Mortgage
Also known as a variable-rate mortgage, this is a loan with an interest rate that changes based on the prime rate and index rate. While you may start with lower monthly payments, you must be prepared to pay more at any given time.
Who should use this loan?
Those who have poor credit or plan to sell their home before their fixed-rate period is up.

FHA Loan
In an effort to make buying a home more attainable for Americans, the Federal Housing Administration offers FHA loans which allows buyers to put a minimum down payment for as little as 3.5 percent.
Who should use this loan?
Those who don’t have enough savings for a down payment. However, with a FHA loan comes private mortgage insurance (PMI), which hovers around 1 percent of the cost of your loan.

There are two other types of loans that home buyers should consider and that is the USDA Home Mortgage and the VA Mortgage.   USDA loans are not available in all areas, but if it is, it can be a great alternative, especially first-time home buyers.  The VA loan is a fantastic mortgage option for those who qualify.  Not only is a great interest rate, but the credit criteria is very workable.
At the end of the day, talking to a mortgage professional will help you decide which type of loan is best suited for you.

Application documents checklist
To be able to predict your financial future, lenders need to take a hard look at your past and present financial situations. With this checklist, the task of gathering the necessary paperwork won’t seem as burdensome.
• Bank statements
• W2s from current and past employers
• Pay check stubs
• List of all debts
• List of all assets
• Credit report
• Residential address for the past two years
• Landlord names and addresses for the past two years
• Proof of timely rental payments
• Divorce decree (if applicable)
• Gift letter (if using gift funds)
• Bankruptcy paperwork (if applicable)
If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.
As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.
Roland

PLEASE VISIT AND SHARE MY BLOGS AT
WWW.ROLANDLOW.WORDPRESS.COM
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The Language of Real Estate


The Language of Real Estate

  • Fixed-Rate Mortgage
    Mortgage rates are discussed when you meet with a broker. A fixed-rate mortgage is a loan that has an interest rate which will remain the same for the life of the loan. The most popular is the 30-year loan because it usually makes your payments the lowest.
  • Adjustable-Rate Mortgage
    On the contrary, the interest rate on an adjustable-rate mortgage can change from year to year. You’ll want to discuss the pros and cons of both a fixed mortgage and an adjustable mortgage with your broker.
  • Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)
    The good news is that you don’t need to put 20 percent down to purchase a home. However, if you choose to move forward with a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan, you’re required to purchase private mortgage insurance. PMI is a type of insurance that reimburses the lender if you default on the loan.
  • Escrow
    You’ll hear this term once you put an offer on a house. Escrow is defined as the holding of funds by a neutral third party prior to closing.
  • Contingency 
    “We will only move forward with the sale as long as x, y, and z happen.”
    A contingency can be placed by either the buyer or the seller. It’s a provision in the contract stating that some or all of the terms of the contract will be altered or voided by the occurrence of a specific event.
  • Closing Costs
    You’ve made it! It’s closing time. But with the closing comes costs. By definition, closing costs are all transaction charges that homebuyers or sellers need to pay at the close of escrow when the property is transferred. Typically, closings costs range from 2 to 5 percent of the purchase price.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

 

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

 

Roland

 

PLEASE VISIT AND SHARE MY BLOGS AT

WWW.ROLANDLOW.WORDPRESS.COM

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What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know About Listing Your Home


What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know

About Listing Your Home

What is the typical time frame for selling?

This question is a great way to gain some perspective on the overall process and can make you all the more prepared for the sometimes-long journey of putting a home on the market.  Communication between the sellers and REALTOR® is critical!

What is the best marketing strategy for selling?

This will vary based on location and other factors, but making a home stand out on the market is a common denominator regardless. Between social media, open houses, and solid listing photos, there are many options to choose from to make for a strong marketing plan.

How will the listing price be decided?

Money is obviously a large part of the selling process. Knowing the plan to reach a listing price is an integral part of the sale that you want to stay on top of.  Sellers want to receive the maximum amount of cash at the settlement table, but it is important to understand that it’s the market conditions that determine the selling price.  Your REALTOR® will have a good understanding of the market.

What is the best way to stay in communication?

Does the team involved prefer calls, emails, or texting? Clarify ahead of time, and make sure the lines of communication are open for you to address any problems as they arise.  The number one complaint that clients have about real estate agents is communication.  The number one complaint that real estate agents have about clients – you guessed it, communication.

What does the staging process look like?

Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional, depersonalizing your home is important and can take some time depending on how personal your interior is styled. There should be a solid plan for this step, even if it means getting an outside contractor involved to make your home market ready.

Don’t go into the selling process blindly—instead, make sure to ask the right questions that make putting your home on the market a breeze for everyone involved.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

PLEASE VISIT AND SHARE MY BLOGS AT
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What Does It Mean to Sell a Home “As-Is?”


What Does It Mean to Sell a Home “As-Is?”

 All too often I see homes listed as being sold “as is”.  There are certainly pros and cons of listing a home as-is.  And buyers and sellers need to know what that truly means.

I have seen listings that proclaim this property is “turn key” ready or “shows well”.  And then it indicates that the property is “as-is”. The seller’s version of an as-is property is that the seller does not intend to make any repairs to the property. This may or may not be a wise move. Some repairs are relatively simple and certainly should not get in the way of closing a deal.

The buyer’s version of an as-is property is that there must be something wrong with the property – and they are most likely correct.  It also tells the buyer that there is something wrong with the property and I’m not telling you (buyer) about it.  It takes us back to the days of “caveat emptor” (let the buyer beware).

But sellers and buyers need to understand that by simply checking off a box that says, “as-is” it does not relieve the seller of revealing latent defects.  Latent defects are faults in a property that could not have been discovered by a reasonably thorough inspection before the sale. Whether a property is being sold as-is or not, these defects must be disclosed to a potential buyer.

Certified Home Inspectors have come a long way in detecting defects in a property, but there are still many latent defects that can go unnoticed.  One example of a latent defect is a septic system that is no longer in use.  Even though the tank may be empty, in time, the concrete will fail and there will be a section of land that will sink into the old septic tank.  Many of the older properties did not record where the septic tanks were located, and it is possible that current home owners have no knowledge of the old tank.  Nevertheless, if the seller has knowledge, it is incumbent upon the seller to disclose that fact.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

 

PLEASE VISIT AND SHARE MY BLOGS AT

WWW.ROLANDLOW.WORDPRESS.COM

WWW.ALWAYSWANTEDTOKNOW.WORDPRESS.COM

WWW.SPIRITUALCHALLENGES.WORDPRESS.COM

 

 

Fun Facts and Inspiration for March 26


Fun Facts and Inspiration for March 26

Inspiration…
“The mind is everything. What you think you become.”        Buddha

Did you know that…
In order to calculate massive quantities, American Edward Kasner coined the word googol, which is the number one, followed by 100 zeros. But for today’s calculations they use the googolplex which is the number one followed by 1 billion zeros, which allows us to calculate the number of electrons passing through a 40-watt light bulb in one minute. To give you an idea of how massive a googolplex is, it equates to roughly the number of drops of water flowing over Niagara Falls in a century.

In the early days of business written records, the record keeper of the meeting took notes to document what transpired. Because of the amount of information, the record keeper wrote in shorthand and abbreviations. The word used to describe these notes were called minute, as in ‘my-noot’, meaning small. Today we refer to the notes as minutes of a meeting.

During the American Civil War massive numbers of young and untrained soldiers were rushed into battle, causing major problems with discipline. The veterans called this incompetent soldiers “reckies”, rather than recruits. The word “reckies” evolved to include anyone new to an organization who lacked training and required training to become “rookies”.

In the early 1700’s, English playwright John Dennis introduced a metallic device that imitated the sound of thunder. The production it was created for failed and the thunder device was forgotten until several months later, he heard the thunder sound in another play. Dennis raised a public outcry that someone had stolen his idea. Today we refer to such an act as “stealing my thunder.”

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

PLEASE VISIT AND SHARE MY REAL ESTATE BLOG AT
WWW.ROLANDLOW.WORDPRESS.COM

Whether you are a first time home buyer, moving up, scaling down or an investor in real estate, this blog has something for you!

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