Paul Stonkus' Blog
The homebuying journey is rarely problem-free. Fortunately, homebuyers who know how to address challenges throughout the property buying journey should have no trouble making their homeownership dreams come true.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you develop an effective approach to address any homebuying challenges that come your way.
1. Be Diligent
When it comes to homebuying challenges, it helps to be diligent. A diligent homebuyer allocates time and resources to understand problems and address them from every angle. As such, this buyer may be better equipped than others to find the right solution to any homebuying challenge, at any time.
Furthermore, a diligent homebuyer often learns about the housing market and analyzes real estate market patterns and trends. With this information at his or her disposal, a homebuyer can use real estate market data to gain an advantage over rival property buyers. And as a result, a diligent homebuyer can use housing market data to make fast, informed decisions throughout the property buying journey.
2. Understand the Worst-Case Scenarios
No one likes to think about the worst-case scenarios. Yet considering potential challenges that could arise during the homebuying cycle may help a property buyer plan ahead for these problems.
As a homebuyer, it is important to prepare as much as possible for all stages of the property buying journey. If a buyer understands potential challenges, he or she may be able to address such problems without delay. Perhaps best of all, this buyer can minimize the risk of encountering possible hurdles that otherwise may prevent him or her from finding the right house at the right price.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
Dealing with a homebuying challenge on your own can cause immense stress. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available who can help you identify and resolve any homebuying challenges before they escalate.
A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who can guide you along each stage of the property buying journey. First, he or she will learn about your homebuying goals and craft a custom property buying strategy. A real estate agent next will keep you up to date about new homes that match your property buying criteria, as well as set up home showings. And once you find a house that you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to purchase this residence.
Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent provides after a seller accepts your offer to purchase a home, either. At this point, a real estate agent will help you schedule a house inspection and ensure that you are fully prepared for closing day. And if you have concerns or questions along the way, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them.
Want to become a confident homebuyer? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can bolster your homebuying confidence and address any homebuying challenges with poise and integrity.
We all know that buying a home is a significant decision that comes with a great deal of financial planning and preparation. However, few of us are taught the ins and outs of actually obtaining a mortgage to make your dream of homeownership come true.
Mortgages are a complicated business that is always changing, both with fluctuations in market rates and with policy decisions.
But, if you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future, it’s important to understand all of your options when it comes to mortgages.
In today’s post, we’re going to address the 20% down payment myth, where that number comes from, and what your options are when it comes to applying for a mortgage.
Where does the 20% down payment number come from?
For most people, 20% of a house is a serious amount of money that would take years to save up. If you’re a first-time homebuyer and don’t have any equity to use from selling another house, 20% may seem like an impossible amount to save within the time you want to buy a home. Fortunately, there are several ways to buy a home without having 20% in cash saved up.
But first, let’s understand where that number comes from.
Most mortgage lenders will want to ensure that lending to you is a safe investment of their money. They want to know that they’ll earn back what they’re spending. To do this, they use several methods.
First, they’ll check your credit history to see how often you pay your bills in time. Then, they’ll want proof if your income and financial stability. Finally, they’ll ask for either a down payment or a guarantee that you will pay them back. Here’s where that 20% comes in.
If you don’t have 20% of the mortgage amount saved for a down payment, you will typically have to pay something called private mortgage insurance. This is an extra monthly fee, on top of your mortgage payments with interest, that you pay to ensure the lender that they’re seeing a return on their investment.
Most homeowners put much less than 20% down
If you’re feeling bad about the amount of money you have saved for a down payment, don’t be! In fact, most first-time homebuyers put, on average, just 6% down on their first home.
Since first-time homeowners don’t have the benefit of equity they’ve accumulated by making payments on their previous mortgage, they often have to come up with down payments out of pocket.
Other options besides a 20% down payment
There are several ways to secure a mortgage without putting 20% down on the home. First, check to see if you are eligible for any loans that are guaranteed by the government. These can come from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), or the USDA single-family home program.
The third option is to take on private mortgage insurance until you’ve paid 20% of your mortgage payment.
Private mortgage insurance can be paid to an insurance company or to the federal government in the case of FHA loans, you can put down as low as 3.5%.
Between these three options, you should be able to find a mortgage that you can afford and one that will give you the best possible financial stability in the long-term.
If you intend to find your dream house, it helps to establish a homebuying strategy. That way, you can enter the real estate market with a plan in place to accomplish your desired goals.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you craft an effective homebuying strategy.
1. Create Homebuying Criteria
If you know where you want to reside, you can narrow your house search. As a result, you may be better equipped than other buyers to accelerate the homebuying journey.
Creating a list of home must-haves and wants usually is a great starting point for homebuyers. This list typically forces homebuyers to think about what separates an ordinary residence from a dream house. And once a homebuyer crafts a list of home must-haves and wants, this buyer can search for residences that meet his or her expectations.
2. Budget for a Home
In most instances, homebuyers lack the necessary financing to buy a house. Luckily, lenders are available that can help a homebuyer assess mortgage options and get pre-approved for home financing.
Budgeting for a home is a major part of the homebuying process. Because if you know exactly how much you can spend on a residence, you could speed up your house search.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. Then, when you find the right mortgage, you can enter the real estate market with a budget at your disposal.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
There is no requirement to hire a real estate agent before you pursue your dream house. Yet the advantages of hiring a real estate agent can be significant, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.
For homebuyers, a real estate agent takes the guesswork out of finding the right house at the right price. A real estate agent also collaborates with a homebuyer and will go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure a buyer can achieve the optimal results.
If you want to purchase a house as quickly as possible, it may be a good idea to hire a real estate agent sooner rather than later. Oftentimes, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your homebuying aspirations. He or she next will work with you to craft a homebuying strategy and launch a successful house search.
Furthermore, a real estate agent is a housing market expert who will help you overcome any potential homebuying hurdles. A real estate agent understands the challenges associated with purchasing a house and will help you identify and address such issues before they escalate. And if you ever have concerns or questions as you search for your ideal residence, a real estate agent will respond to them.
Enter the real estate market with a plan in hand – take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can create an effective strategy to streamline your search for your dream residence.
Selling a home can be challenging, even for an individual who is laser-focused on getting the best price for his or her house. Fortunately, we're here to help you achieve the best-possible results during the home selling journey.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you obtain the best price for your residence.
1. Study the Prices of Comparable Residences in Your Area
Your home may seem like it is one of a kind, but there likely are comparable houses in your city or town. If you take a look at the prices of comparable houses in your area, you may be better equipped than ever before to establish a competitive initial asking price for your residence.
Also, studying the prices of comparable residences in your area enables you to see how your house stacks up against the competition. And if you find your home pales in comparison to its rivals, you may want to dedicate time and resources to upgrade your house. That way, you can help your house stand out to potential buyers.
2. Conduct a Home Appraisal
A home appraisal commonly is requested by a buyer after a seller accepts his or her offer to purchase a residence and a property appraisal has been completed. However, it may be beneficial for a seller to conduct a home appraisal, especially if this individual wants to get the optimal price for his or her residence.
By conducting a home appraisal, you can receive expert insights into how much your house is currently worth. Then, you can use your home appraisal results to set an aggressive initial asking price for your residence.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
If you are unsure about how to price your residence, you may want to hire a real estate agent. Because if you have a real estate agent at your side, you can quickly and effortlessly accomplish your property selling goals.
First, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your residence. This housing market professional next will help you establish a competitive initial asking price for your home that accounts for the current state of the real estate market. A real estate agent then will list your home, promote it to potential buyers and set up home showings and open house events. And if you receive an offer to purchase your residence, a real estate agent can help you review this proposal and decide how to proceed.
Of course, a real estate agent will do everything possible to help you maximize your house sale earnings too. He or she will negotiate with a buyer's agent on your behalf and ensure you can get the best price for your residence – regardless of the current housing market's conditions.
Don't wait to list your home and maximize your home sale profits. Instead, take advantage of the aforementioned home selling tips, and you can boost the likelihood of a fast, profitable property selling experience.
If your dream kitchen space is one that is used to for both large gatherings and small intimate dinners, then think about what you would want to include. The layout has everything to do with how you use the space. An entertaining kitchen may not be a chef's kitchen, or it may fit both the social butterfly and the serious iron chef. Depending on your available kitchen space, you will need to prioritize your wish list and possibly compromise depending on your other needs and who else will be using the area regularly. Designing, planning, and deciding is the process of acquiring that dream kitchen space.
Morning, Noon and Night Kitchen
When you think about the amount of traffic your kitchen seeing throughout a day, you realize it's one of the busiest and most used rooms in the house. Start with the morning hours before everyone rushes off to school. You may want a coffee bar, especially if you spend your retirement fund at local coffee shops and drive-throughs. What about your blender for protein shakes or fruit smoothies; or the toaster crisping up that bagel or toast? Easy access to appliances and cookware but hidden when not in use is a must. Pullout shelves that lift to counter height are intelligent and practical. Having a 6-8 burner gas stove with griddle would make breakfast brunch gathering easy to provide all the hotcakes you would need. Many cooktops have large drawers right underneath where the pots and pans sit for easy access and tidy organization. Wall ovens let you cook dinner and bake dessert at the same time, and are also useful for keeping food warm until meal time when you are hosting a large gathering. The wall oven is located higher then free-standing ovens and reduces the stress on your back when retrieving a heavier item from the oven.
Keeping it All Clean and Stocked
Having a farmhouse sink is a beautiful big space to wash up not only your bigger pots and the awkward jelly roll, but also that vast stack of Sunday dinner plates. Drawer dishwashers are excellent for when you want to run a smaller load and not waste water, and energy. Smart refrigerators these days can keep a grocery list for you, check the current inventory when you are out and about and have adjustable zones for when you have more produce than deli or need a bit more freezer space. Walk-in pantries are great for storing bulk items when on sale or for a party. They can also house the small appliances that you use only on occasion.
Find a few open house events in your area this week and take a tour to see what kitchen items you cannot live without.