Posts Tagged ‘home’

Tales of a Home Buyer – part 1

May 11, 2011

Written by Shawn DeVries

Let me start by saying that this was not my first time.  Not only have I purchased a home before, but I have obviously been on the selling side of the process.  I have experienced a refinance and even rented for a period in my life.  I now work in the lending industry and know the process of buying a home and what to expect.  Yet, I still experienced the same stress, fear, anxiety, worry, excitement, joy, anticipation and ultimate relief that every other home buyer and owner experiences when going through this process.  My emotional range may have something to do with me doing this as a single buyer this time, but I felt it all just the same.

If you are considering purchasing a home, you may wonder just what this journey is all about.  I thought you might like to know.  If you fully understand this process please don’t disregard this series, for I know you will find warm memories and at the very least some great humor as I relate my story to you.

My story really begins nearly three years ago.  After a divorce I relocated back home to start my life over again.  Let me set the stage very clearly by adding that “moving home” was taken quite literally by moving back into my parent’s house.  Oh yeah, I did it.  God bless my parents, for despite their honest intentions and good will, I really don’t think either of us knew what this would all entail.  Most of my belongings were packed into storage with the remaining pieces finding basement corners and emptied closets.  I was prepared for this journey to start over to take some time, but not quite this much time.  Let the fun begin.  Oh, did I mention I have two children in tow?  (I told you my story would have humor.  Ha!)

Fast forward now through the past three years as I find a new career, pay off debt, and save some money all in preparation of buying my own home.  When January of this year finally came, I was ready to go home shopping!  I thought this day would never come.  I knew to take care of my credit over this time and felt it was in great shape.  I had money set aside for the down payment, plus some for reserves.  I had crunched the numbers and knew not only what I could afford, but what I wanted to afford.  Yes, I am a little anal about details sometimes, but I was preparing to buy a home and I wanted no surprises.

Knowing that the first step in buying a home is to get pre-approved I started by gathering my documents (yes all seemingly 4,000 of them) and verifying the information (just short of the blood work) for my Loan Officer as he prepared to pull my credit report.  Despite having a good clue of what to expect, that 15 seconds between him hitting “submit” and seeing the actual report can feel like eternity.  What are my scores?  Did I really behave?  Will that oops from 5 years ago show up now?  What surprises will he find?  Oh please, oh please let my score be above that golden 640 so that I can shop for a house.  See?  Even people who work for lenders have real emotions and understand the angst our clients endure.

Well the report appeared.  Great scores, good behavior paid off, no glaring marks, no surprises, and above the benchmark score needed.  Whew!  My information was then entered into a program that analyzes the data and based on preset criteria makes a decision on whether or not I could be approved for a loan.  However to the borrower the answers feel like: go away you are only kidding yourself; we had better have someone else take a look at this because we’re not so sure; or yeah, we can do that… provided nothing weird happens.  I was relieved to learn that my information was approved.  My pre-approval was then written and off I went to find my house.  This would be a snap.

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First-time Home Buyers Still have Options

May 13, 2010

The home buyer’s tax credit program has ended.  While many were able to take advantage of the savings; we also know that many more did not.  Perhaps the timing of the program didn’t fit with your current financial picture.  Do you feel left out and like the opportunity to buy your dream home is gone for good?  While this particular program may be over, what if something else existed to help?  Wouldn’t you want to know?  Fortunately one does!

The Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) program is a Federal tax credit on the mortgage interest you pay on your home loan over a calendar year.  It effectively reduces the annual interest rate on your loan. 

This is not a limited life program or something offered for just a set period of time.  The MCC credit remains in effect for as long as your home continues to be your primary residence and the original mortgage loan remains in place.  Only if you refinance your home loan, sell your home or purchase a second home that becomes your primary residence, will the credit end.  Plus in select targeted areas you do not need to be a first-time home buyer to qualify.

Unfortunately this program is not offered in all states.  In the 5 states we currently do business only Michigan and Indiana offer the MCC program.  (This would be a great question to ask your state senators and representatives about if your state does not offer this program.)  Even more amazing though is that not all lenders participate in this program.  Awareness Home Funding does and will continue to do so for every state we conduct business in when available.   

If you are looking to purchase a home, now or in the future, ask us about the MCC program.  We are very familiar with how the program works and more importantly, how it can work for you.

Ever wonder why you need an Appraisal for your Refinance Loan?

May 6, 2010

It is known that when you purchase a home you will have an appraisal conducted to determine the value.  More specifically an appraiser analyzes the value of your home and property compared to surrounding homes of similar size and style that have sold in the past 6 months.  So why is another appraisal required when you are refinancing your home?

The end result of the appraisal report is a dollar value that is used to determine the maximum amount a lender is willing to loan you.  A refinance pays off your existing home loan and establishes a new loan.  Criteria used to establish a loan for a purchase are much the same for establishing a refinance loan.  Therefore the value of your home and property needs to be confirmed.

Also consider that in the time you have owned your home so far, you have most likely made some changes.  Those changes can add value to your home and property.  Market conditions can also affect your home’s worth.  Are housing prices increasing or decreasing?  An appraisal done for a refinance loan will let you know the amount of equity you now have in the home.  The point is, anytime a loan is established the value of the collateral involved must be determined.

What is a Buyer’s Agent?

May 4, 2010

There are two general types of agency involved with the purchase of a home, the listing agent and the selling agent.  The listing agent is the realtor who has listed the property as being for sale.  The selling agent is the realtor who actually sells the home to the buyer.  In both of these instances, the realtor is ultimately working to sell the home.  This is after all, how they make a living.  However, you can make one simple step to ensure a realtor is working for you the buyer.  Get a buyer’s agent.

A buyer’s agent is a realtor that works exclusively for the buyer.  But there they are also so much more than that.  Only members of the National Association of Realtors can claim the title of Realtor.  And only members of the Real Estate Buyers Agency Council can call themselves an ABR (Accredited Buyers Representative).  An ABR has gone through intensive, specialized training in the process of buying a home. These agents hold to a code of ethics that hold the professional to high standard of conduct.

Having an ABR buyer’s agent work for you can lower your risk of losing money throughout the buying process.  He or she will make recommendations that will assure that you are buying a home that is safe, environmentally sound and priced fairly according to the current marketplace. 

Don’t be surprised if you are asked to sign a contract of commitment for a set period of time to work exclusively with this particular ABR buyer’s agent.  This can actually be a very good thing.  A Realtor does not get paid until the sale of your home closes.  This means your agent is focused on helping you meet your goals, or they won’t get paid.  Now consider that Realtors have information on homes in the marketplace that you the buyer do not, such as the latest homes for sale and price changes.  As a committed client, you will have access to that information first. 

Once you find that dream home, you will want a professional on your side helping you negotiate the finer points of the transaction; handling the forms, contracts and paperwork that needs to be processed; and dealing with any challenges that come along the way.  Don’t let the purchase of your dream home turn into a nightmare.  Work with a professional, Accredited Buyers Representative.  You’ll be glad you did.