Christine Natale's Blog
There’s many different myths about buying a home that may have been presented to you as fact. All of these rumors could have you believing that being a home owner is a dream. Here, we’ll debunk some of the most common misconceptions about home buying and give you the tools to solve any issues that you may come across in the process of securing a home loan.
If You Don’t Have 20% To Put Down On A Home, You Can’t Buy
Many conventional loans do require a 20% down payment on a home. There’s also many different loans available that may suit your needs. From Federal Housing Administration loans to Veteran’s programs to down payment assistance programs, there’s many different things that can be done to help you buy a home. Keep in mind that any time you put less than 20% down, you’ll need to provide additional mortgage insurance, also known as PMI or private mortgage insurance.
If Your Credit Score Is Terrible You’re Out Of Luck
If you want really good mortgage rates, having great credit is very important. If your credit score is low, your rates tend to be much higher. A really low credit score could keep you from getting a loan completely. FHA loans allow you to still qualify for a loan with a credit score as low as 580.
You Need To Make Bank To Get Money From The Bank
Monthly annual income is just one of the factors that’s considered when it comes to getting a loan to purchase a home. Your debts matter just as much if not more. People with significant credit card debt and other loans may be denied a home loan even if they have a substantial income.
You’re In The Clear If You’re Pre-Qualified
Pre-qualification is much different than pre-approval. Pre-qualification involves giving your lender basic information about your finances in order to estimate how much of a loan you can get. This will give you a ballpark figure of about how much you’ll be able to borrow. Of course, this is very helpful in the home search process, but you’re not done. To get pre-approved, you’ll need a complete mortgage application in order to have your complete financial background check and credit rating.
If You’ve Met One Real Estate Agent, You’ve Met Them All
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Your relationship with your real estate agent is going to be quite close. You’ll need to share somewhat personal information in order to secure a house you’ll love. Agents are involved in one of the biggest decisions that you’ll ever make. Each agent has his or her specialties and knows different neighborhoods better than others. Definitely go with a real estate agent that you feel comfortable with and knows their stuff.
Closing Costs Aren’t Your Responsibility
Sometimes, sellers do pay the closing costs in the sale of a home. It all depends upon how the negotiations go with the home. You’ll need to be prepared for upfront costs in buying a home. These include a credit check, attorney fees and property insurance. As a buyer, you’ll be paying anywhere between 2 and 5 percent of the purchase price of the home.
It’s important to be prepared and to stay informed in order to make sound financial decisions throughout the process of purchasing a home. Everything will be that much more exciting when you have all of the pertinent information that you’ll need.
Like any house hunting wish list, certain items take precedence over others. A lot depends on your lifestyle, the age of your family members, and even your health. If, for example, you need to visit your doctor regularly or pick up prescriptions every other week, living a short distance from a pharmacy and medical offices will make your life a lot easier.
Since grocery shopping is something everyone does at least once a week, finding a home within ten to 15 minutes of a supermarket will save you time and gas money. Your real estate agent or listing agent should be able to give you a good rundown of nearby amenities -- but you'll be better able to evaluate those conveniences if you have a clear idea of what's important to you and your family.
- Transportation: Short commutes to work are high on most people's house-hunting "wish lists." City dwellers often need to be a short walk from bus stops, subway stations, and other modes of public transportation. Frequent travelers prefer a short drive to local airports, train stations, and major highways.
- School district: Whether your children walk to school or take a bus, proximity to schools can be a very desirable feature. That's especially true if they're running late in the morning or participating in after-school programs.
- Daycare: Working couples with babies and preschool children are often dependent on friends, relatives, or commercial daycare facilities to keep a watchful eye on their kids while they're at work. With busy schedules and hectic lifestyles, having a caregiver who's just a short distance away can make your daily routine much less stressful.
- Fitness and recreation: It's all-too-easy to ignore our need for regular exercise when the nearest public park, golf course, or tennis court is 45 minutes away. However, when your home is located just a stone's throw away from walking paths, biking trails, and fitness facilities, you'll have much more of a tendency to stay healthier and more active.
- Houses of Worship: While everyone is different when it comes to religion, proximity to the church, synagogue, or mosque of your choice can be a major convenience factor.
- Banking: Although more and more banking tasks can be done online, having access to a nearby ATM is sometimes a necessity!
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In the internet age, we’ve all seen dream homes on Google, Pinterest, or Instagram that seem to encompass everything we’ve ever wanted in a home.
Sometimes, obsessing over dream homes can be detrimental to us--making us feel bad about our own living situation or discouraged about ever being able to afford the home we truly want.
However, dream homes can serve a purpose when it comes to identifying what we really want out of a home.
In today’s post, we’re going to use the idea of a dream home “wish list” to help you narrow down what really matters to you and your family in your next home.
Step 1: Start by making a list of your dream homes
This is the easy part. If you’re like me, you probably have a Pinterest board or bookmark folder just for home inspiration.
Put all of the dream homes on your list. The order doesn’t matter, and you’ll find out why below.
Step 2: For each home, write down one or two of your favorite things
Is it the square footage? The location that’s perfect for your commute or for trips to your favorite places? Or, is it just the color scheme of the kitchen?
No aspect is too small for this list--it all depends on what you like, not what the price tag is.
Step 3: Go over your list and try to put the items in order of how much they matter to you.
An example would be:
A cheerful, bright colored kitchen
A cozy office to wok quietly in
A two-car garage
A playroom for the kids
A location that’s close to the water
Looking over these five things, there are only two items that can’t be found in most houses, a two-car garage and a location that’s near the water. And, this house-hunter didn’t even list those items as the most important.
So, what can we learn from this exercise? Oftentimes, the things we’re looking for the most in a home can be things that we can do later, like interior decorating or designating spare rooms to serve as an office or playroom.
Step 4: Use your top 3 when house hunting
Now that you have the top three things that you’d find in your dream home, take this list with you on your house hunt. Try to seek out a home that has a combination of these items and one that will be the most practical for your family.
You might find that these conveniences, such as being closer to your work for a shorter commute, will pay off in the long run, as they’ll let you spend more time with our family and make each day a little bit easier.