Joyce Crommett, Westborough MA Real Estate, Southborough MA Real Estate, Northborough MA Real Estate


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The perfect home is not the only thing you'll need to shop for when you want to become a homeowner. In order to get the best terms, the lowest monthly payment and a reasonable interest rate, start doing some homework now -- before you even attend your first open house. 

1. Check Your Credit Score

Checking your credit score should be the first thing you do when you're considering the purchase of a home. Why? Because every lender you speak to will use it as a benchmark for determining the likelihood of you being able to pay off the debt. The better your credit score, the more favorable terms and interest rates a lender might offer you. The earlier you know your credit score, the more time you have to address any issues that might be contained in it. Remember, you're entitled to one free credit report from each of the three reporting agencies each year. Take advantage of this service and keep tabs on your credit score. 

2. Have Steady Employment 

Being able to demonstrate that you are gainfully employed will go a long way toward qualifying for a mortgage loan and being offered attractive interest rates. Aim for at least two years of unbroken employment. Be ready to back up your claims regarding the duration of your employment and the dollar amounts you bring home. 

3. Offer a Sizable Down Payment 

Come to the negotiating table with a lender and with a solid down payment, you'll be able to enjoy lower monthly payments. There's no fast rule regarding the amount of a down payment. That being said, most lenders like you to have at least 20 percent of the home's purchase price as the down payment. There are some lenders, however, who accept less than 20 percent. If your lender accepts down payments that are less than the standard 20 percent, expect to have to purchase private mortgage insurance. This can be anywhere from .05 percent to 1 percent. 

4. Know Your Debt To Income Ratio

The debt to income ratio demonstrates your ability to pay off the mortgage as agreed upon. Most lenders like to see that your monthly debt payments are equal to or less than 43 percent of your gross monthly income. 

In a seller's market, there might be several people vying for the same home. Addressing the items above can make you look more attractive compared to some of the other potential home buyers. 


Are you planning on buying a home by a certain date? It’s unfortunate that life can’t go as we plan it all the time! With a bit of planning finding the right home at the right time is possible. Many times, families are looking to buy a home before the end of the summer. This allows them to get settled in and get the kids started in a new school before the start of the year in September. Just because there are more popular times throughout the year to move doesn’t mean that the inventory of homes changes much as to what’s on the market. Whatever the reason for the short supply of homes, you’ll need to be informed and creative in order to land a house in a high demand market when it’s crunch time. Below, you’ll find some tips to help you on your search.


Research Your Location Ahead Of Time 


Every housing market has a bit of a down time. You want to pinpoint that period. Does your location have a time of year where people flee the area for vacations? The holiday season can also be a great time to look. There may still be low supply, but there also will be less competition. Do a bit of research in order to find pricing trends. When the prices dip, you’ll know that’s a time where competition for homes is lower.


Always Have Your Finances In Order


When you’re buying a home, no matter what time of year it is, you need to have your lender on call. Make sure that you have been preapproved and that your downpayment money is at your disposal. Sellers like serious buyers who are ready to pass paperwork.  


Know What You’re Willing To Compromise On


When you’re buying a home on a timeline, you may not have the luxury of searching around endlessly to meet your wishlist. You should have a few musts, but there may be many things that you’ll need to work with or compromise on in finding the right property. You may be able to find a home in the right neighborhood, but it might not have the granite countertops that you’re looking for. When time is of the essence, your home search priorities need to be set straight.  


Don’t Look For Bargains


When you’re in a time crunch to land a home, you don’t want to fool around with price. In order to land a home that you love, you might have to offer a bit more than the asking price. There’s no space for a bidding war, a low offer, or an extended search when you need to buy a home fast.          

  


Photo by fran hogan on Unsplash

If you’re a homeowner considering selling your home as an investment property, timing is important. From a financial perspective, just as you probably bought strategically, you want to sell strategically too. The trick is knowing when the right time arrives. Here are four common metrics people use to determine when it's time to sell their property.

Amount of Equity in the House

A primary factor to look at is how much equity is in the home. Ideally, to sell a home as an investment, the seller can make a tidy sum. If mortgage payments are still owed, this may negate any potential profit made, but not necessarily. If you're looking to broaden your investment portfolio, be certain you can sell your house for enough money to pay off your debt with a sufficient amount left over to re-invest. If you don’t have enough equity to do this, you’re better holding off.

Market Conditions Are Good

Many owners who bought low and can sell high find this to be a strong motivator to put their property on the market. Since market conditions eventually shift to a buyer’s market, it’s a smart strategy to sell when the housing market favors the seller. Owners who have held their property for a long time or purchased as the housing bubble burst between 2007-2012, are likely going to make a better profit than investors who purchased when prices were at their peak.

Tax Code Advantages

Buyers are often motivated to sell if there are tax code advantages. For instance, the IRS currently offers a tax-deferred advantage to investors looking to sell one property to buy another. Under tax IRC Section 1031, sellers are required to find another property to purchase within 45 days and then buy it within 135 (180 days total).

By selling and making a similar real estate investment, investors can defer paying their federal and state capital gain taxes. It’s a good strategy to use if you want to leverage real estate and broaden your portfolio.

Taxes Are Going Up

If local taxes are going up, often buyers find this to be an incentive to sell. For instance, if a town severely limits commercial activity, the tax burden falls to homeowners. Over time, the tax bill may become too exorbitant. If you own enough equity in your property and the housing market is in your favor, high taxes might be your tipping point.


If you are thinking of refinancing your mortgage, there are so many options available to you that address your needs. Whether you want to do some home improvement projects or provide a down payment for another property refinancing can be a good option for you. There are many different options when it comes to home loans and refinancing. Below, you’ll find some of the most popular choices and what they mean for your mortgage and your finances. 


Standard Refinance


A standard refinances requires that you have a certain amount of equity in your home. If you want to avoid Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI on the refinance, you need 20% equity in the home. Different lenders have different requirements for the amount of equity that you need in order to do this primary refinancing of your home loan. Keep in mind that a good credit score is also a requirement to do this type of loan.


Refinancing With Cash Out


This option is great when you need to take some of the equity out of your home. This way, you can get some of the equity out of your home without selling the house. This way, you’re able to refinance the mortgage, get a good loan term that’s affordable, and borrow a part of the equity you have built up in your home.


You can use the cash that you take out for just about anything you need including college, home renovations, business start-up costs, or to consolidate other debt you have. The only drawback is that you’re not able to borrow 100% of your equity. Usually, the highest percentage you’re eligible to borrow is 80%. The amount is based on both the equity you have built up in your home along with your income. Also, keep in mind that after you take out one of these loans, the amount of equity you have in your home decreases.  


Short Refinance


Short refinances may not be offered by all lenders. If you don’t qualify for a HARP loan or standard, refinance this could be a good option for you. If you hope to avoid foreclosure and are struggling to pay your mortgage each month, your lender may agree to the terms of this type of loan. The loan is in effect is a combination of a short sale and a refinance. The lender agrees to pay the existing mortgage off. The loan s replaced with a new mortgage. Beware that if you choose this option, your credit score may go down significantly. If you’re able to keep up with the new mortgage payments, you’ll be able to repair your credit score over time.         



Looking to buy a house without having to break your budget? Put together a homebuying roadmap, and you can increase your chances of finding a top-notch house that falls within your price range.

Ultimately, there are many things to consider as you put together a homebuying roadmap, such as:

1. Your Dream Home Definition

Differentiate your dream home must-haves from your wants – you'll be glad you did. If you can determine exactly what you want to find in your dream house, you can narrow your home search accordingly.

For example, if you need a home with multiple bedrooms to accommodate your entire family, you should include this information near the top of your homebuying roadmap. You then can kick off a search of multi-bedroom homes and move closer to finding your ideal residence.

2. Where You Want to Live

Do you enjoy life in the big city? Or, would you prefer to settle down in a small town? Think about where you would like to call home so that you can effectively plan your homebuying journey.

Ideally, you should try to refine your home search to a small collection of cities and towns. This will enable you to speed up your home search and ensure you can find a house that suits you perfectly.

Keep in mind your day-to-day activities as you consider where you want to live too. For instance, if you work in the city, you may want to pursue houses in or near the city itself. On the other hand, you may be able to purchase a small town home for less than what you would have to pay for a city residence and commute into the city for work.

3. Your Homebuying Timeline

Determine how quickly you'd like to finalize a home purchase. That way, you can map out exactly how you want to approach the housing market.

If you are committed to buying a house as soon as possible, you'll need to be proactive. The top houses sell quickly, and if you don't act fast, you risk missing out on your dream residence to a rival homebuyer.

Conversely, if you can afford to be patient, you can avoid pressure throughout the homebuying process. In this scenario, you can pursue houses at your convenience. And once you find the right home, you can submit an offer and finalize your home purchase.

When it comes to creating a homebuying roadmap, it generally helps to get support from a real estate agent. In fact, this housing market professional can provide plenty of assistance throughout the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent will learn about your homebuying goals and help you develop a successful homebuying roadmap. Furthermore, he or she can keep you up to date about new homes as they become available and make it easy to discover a wonderful residence at a budget-friendly price.

Ready to get started on the process of purchasing a house? Consider the aforementioned items as you create a homebuying roadmap, and you can plan a successful homebuying journey.




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