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Step 1—Know when you’re ready[/b] A home is likely the largest purchase you’ll ever make, so it’s important that you’re well prepared. Decide whether to rent or buy[/u] Start by determining if either buying or renting makes the most sense for you right now. There are costs and benefits associated with each, so make sure you have all the facts before deciding. Determine what you can afford[/u] If you decide you want to buy a home, it’s time for a thorough review of your finances and credit history to see what you can afford. You can use our mortgage affordability calculator to estimate how a mortgage could fit into your financial situation. Build and manage your credit[/u] Your credit plays a crucial role in the mortgage lending process. Brush up on the basics and be sure you’re making the most of your credit as you take the next steps toward homeownership. Put your rent payments to work If you consistently pay your rent each month, you’re likely to keep up with mortgage payments too. A solid record of rent payments can now help you qualify for a mortgage, even if you have a limited credit history. Step 2–Save for homeownership Saving is essential to pay for required homebuying costs. In addition to a down payment, there are closing costs, other fees, and unexpected expenses to keep in mind. Prepare for upfront and ongoing costs It’s important to be aware of the costs associated with buying — and owning — a home. From your down payment and mortgage loan closing costs to homeowners’ insurance and ongoing maintenance, don’t let these expenses catch you off guard. Budget for closing costs Closing costs typically range from 2% to 5% of the value of your mortgage. Use the closing costs calculator to see ranges of common closing fees to help you budget. Understand your debt-to-income ratio Lenders consider your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio when determining what mortgage loans are available to you. If the amount you owe in debt is high compared to your overall income, you may not qualify for the most preferable loan terms. Step 3—Work with a mortgage lender There are many different mortgage lenders. When you find the right one for you, they’ll evaluate your finances and explain your mortgage options. Choose a lender Different lenders may offer different mortgage products, require different fees, and use different processes. Use our checklist to help select a lender that meets your specific needs. Understand loan basics Get an overview of mortgage loan definitions and processes. Find out how mortgages work and what factors may impact your loan terms. Types of mortgage loans Mortgage loans aren’t one-size-fits-all. Before deciding which one works for you, get to know the different kinds available. Discover affordable mortgage options Depending on the home and your circumstances, special loans or programs may be available to make your mortgage more affordable. Step 4—Shop with a real estate agent Working with a trusted real estate agent can make your home search more enjoyable. They’ll show you suitable homes and help you close the sale on a home you’ll love. Find the right agent A real estate agent can help you find and view homes that match your budget and priorities. Then they’ll work with you to close the sale on a home. As with lenders, you can consider multiple agents before choosing one. Ask friends for recommendations, read online reviews, and meet with the agents directly. Our checklist can help you know what to ask when you’re searching for an agent to work with. Step 5—Make an offer on a home When you decide to purchase a particular home, you’ll submit an offer to the seller. If they accept your offer, you’ll both sign a sales contract. Provide documentation to your lender At this point your lender will request additional documentation. Our documentation checklist can help you make sure you provide them with everything they will need to finish up the loan process. Prepare for the home inspection When the seller accepts your offer, you’ll both sign a sales contract or purchase agreement. At that point, you may want to set up a home inspection which helps you avoid last-minute surprises. Our checklist can help you understand what to expect and questions to ask during the inspection. Step 6—Get ready to close your loan You’ll work with your mortgage lender to finish up remaining paperwork, finalize your loan, and transfer ownership. And when it’s done, you own your home. What to expect when closing You’ll set a closing date and location with your lender, real estate agent, and closing agent. They’ll help you finish remaining paperwork, finalize the loan, and make sure that all funds for closing get transferred according to the agreed upon terms. Closing checklist There will be a lot going on and many papers to sign, but you’ll have your real estate agent for guidance along the way. This checklist can also help make sure you stay on track throughout the closing process. Step 7—Welcome to homeownership Congratulations, homeowner! Although this is the last step, it’s just the beginning of your journey as a homeowner. Learn about homeownership You’ll have a lot of new responsibilities, like paying your mortgage on time and maintaining your home — plus ongoing expenses, like property taxes and insurance. Depending on the type of home and neighborhood, there could be ongoing homeowners association (HOA) or condo fees. Most standard homeowners insurance policies don’t cover all possible hazards or natural disasters, so you may want to supplement with additional flood or earthquake insurance. And unlike most rental situations, you’ll now be responsible for all repairs and maintenance, as well as any home improvements. The best part is that you can now truly make the home your own. And remember, Fannie Mae is your go-to resource for every step of your homeownership journey. *Courtest of Fannie Mae: https://yourhome.fanniemae.com/buy
Posted on 23 May 2024 by jessica
First-time homebuyers play a critical role in sustaining the housing ecosystem. Unlike repeat homebuyers who have more robust credit history, first-time homebuyers may not qualify for the best mortgage rates in the market. Moreover, they tend to be younger and hence have lower income and savings, which further fuels the challenge of housing affordability. In this research, we build a new methodology to evaluate the local affordability for future first-time homebuyers. Our unique approach enables us to calibrate the affordability measure by race and various income groups, through which we uncover some unexpected patterns. Introduction First-time homebuyers play a critical role in sustaining the housing ecosystem. According to Bai, Zhu and Goodman (2015), they allow current homeowners to sell and move to a new town, a new job, a retirement community, or upgrade to a bigger house. Even during the pandemic, the share of first-time homebuyers remained strong at 31 percent according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). As the economy slowly recovers from the pandemic, affordability for future first-time homebuyers is ambiguous. While mortgage interest rates remained historically low during the pandemic, they’re quickly climbing and other factors such as a weak labor market, higher house prices, very low inventory and student loan debt obligations, will make it challenging for future borrowers to transition into homeownership. While the fiscal stimulus aid may have mitigated the impact of the financial shock on future borrowers somewhat, it is still relatively difficult for borrowers without high credit to obtain conventional mortgages.1 Furthermore, as the nation is recovering, the speed of recovery will vary across localities, making local affordability for future first-time homebuyers even more uncertain.
Posted on 05 Aug 2022 by jessica
Citrus County Housing Market Report Florida July 2022 Number of homes for sale in Citrus County, FL real estate market have reached 506. The number of homes for sale in Citrus County, FL decreased by 12% between June 2022 and July 2022. The median list price of listings available in July 2022 was $271,552, while the average time on the real estate market was 17 days. This housing market listing prices have changed between June 2022 and July 2022: 1 bedroom properties prices increased by 12.1%, the cost of 2 bedrooms properties went up by 32.9%, 3 bedrooms properties prices increased by 28.2%, prices of 4 bedrooms properties went up by 18.5%, 5 bedrooms properties prices increased by 16.5%. This housing market inventory have changed: the quantity of 1 bedroom homes have not changed, the quantity of 2 bedrooms homes went down by 2.7%, the quantity of 3 bedrooms homes went down by 13.6%, 4 bedrooms homes became 15.5% less available, number of 5 bedrooms homes decreased by 17.4%. Citrus County, FL housing market in July 2022 saw over 20 listings sold above listed price, more than 38 sold at listed price and over 41 sold below. Based on information from Stellar MLS, Beaches MLS, Hernando County Information Services MLS, Space Coast MLS, and realMLS for the period 08/01/2020 - 08/01/2022
Posted on 10 Jun 2021 by jessica
How To Take Great Photos of Your Home

Staging your home for sale is an important part convincing buyers of the quality and value of your property. With most real estate listings online, the power of a good photo goes beyond a clean space.

Here are some tips to help you take picture perfect photos of your home:

•Invest in a Quality Camera: Show your buyers the best of your space by investing in a camera that will give you sharp images. Blurry photos do not highlight the space well or give a good first impression. Better images will make homebuyers more eager to see your home. Spending a few extra bucks now might make you extra cash in the long run.

•Use Natural Light: Take advantage of a sunny day to photograph your home. Natural light makes a space feel warm and inviting while flash creates shadows and reflects off windows or mirrors. (HGTV) Buyers look for homes with extra light so use this as another opportunity to sell your home. Keep in mind when photographing the exterior to make sure the sun is behind you to avoid dark shadows.

•Show Your Space: No one likes to feel cramped. According to Houzz, buyers want to get a better feel of the movement and floor plan in your home. By photographing in one spot and showing several rooms, you show the buyer an expansive view of the space.

•Clear the Clutter: You want to give buyers a space to imagine themselves in without feeling like it’s lived in. Store away any unnecessary items that take away from the main focal point of the room. Keep your home clean and tidy. If you’re trying to photograph a small space, make extra room by rearranging furniture or photograph from a doorway. (Design Sponge)

•Edit the Small Stuff: Don’t worry if you don’t get the exact shot you want. Photo editing sites, like PIXLR, are great for quickly touching up photographs. Crop out what you don’t need or adjust the brightness to enhance the space. Try not to go overboard with editing which can turn off buyers.

Buyers are attracted to homes that have a good presence, and what better way to showcase that than with a good photo. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Posted on 18 Jun 2014 by jessica
Why Use a REALTOR?

All real estate licensees are not the same. Only real estate licensees who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS are properly called REALTORS. They proudly display the REALTOR logo on the business card or other marketing and sales literature. REALTORS are committed to treat all parties to a transaction honestly. REALTORS subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate. An independent survey reports that 84% of home buyers would use the same REALTOR again.

Real estate transactions involve one of the biggest financial investments most people experience in their lifetime. Transactions today usually exceed $100,000. If you had a $100,000 income tax problem, would you attempt to deal with it without the help of a CPA? If you had a $100,000 legal question, would you deal with it without the help of an attorney? Considering the small upside cost and the large downside risk, it would be foolish to consider a deal in real estate without the professional assistance of a REALTOR.

But if you're still not convinced of the value of a REALTOR, here are a dozen more reasons to use one:

1. Your REALTOR can help you determine your buying power -- that is, your financial reserves plus your borrowing capacity. If you give a REALTOR some basic information about your available savings, income and current debt, he or she can refer you to lenders best qualified to help you. Most lenders -- banks and 2. Your REALTOR has many resources to assist you in your home search. Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will take some investigation by your agent to find all available properties.

3. Your REALTOR can assist you in the selection process by providing objective information about each property. Agents who are REALTORS have access to a variety of informational resources. REALTORS can provide local community information on utilities, zoning. schools, etc. There are two things you'll want to know. First, will the property provide the environment I want for a home or investment? Second, will the property have resale value when I am ready to sell?

4. Your REALTOR can help you negotiate. There are myriad negotiating factors, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession and often the inclusion or exclusion of repairs and furnishings or equipment. The purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. Your agent can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required.

5. Your REALTOR provides due diligence during the evaluation of the property. Depending on the area and property, this could include inspections for termites, dry rot, asbestos, faulty structure, roof condition, septic tank and well tests, just to name a few. Your REALTOR can assist you in finding qualified responsible professionals to do most of these investigations and provide you with written reports. You will also want to see a preliminary report on the title of the property. Title indicates ownership of property and can be mired in confusing status of past owners or rights of access. The title to most properties will have some limitations; for example, easements (access rights) for utilities. Your REALTOR, title company or attorney can help you resolve issues that might cause problems at a later date.

6. Your REALTOR can help you in understanding different financing options and in identifying qualified lenders.

7. Your REALTOR can guide you through the closing process and make sure everything flows together smoothly.

8. When selling your home, your REALTOR can give you up-to-date information on what is happening in the marketplace and the price, financing, terms and condition of competing properties. These are key factors in getting your property sold at the best price, quickly and with minimum hassle.

9. Your REALTOR markets your property to other real estate agents and the public. Often, your REALTOR can recommend repairs or cosmetic work that will significantly enhance the salability of your property. Your REALTOR markets your property to other real estate agents and the public. In many markets across the country, over 50% of real estate sales are cooperative sales; that is, a real estate agent other than yours brings in the buyer. Your REALTOR acts as the marketing coordinator, disbursing information about your property to other real estate agents through a Multiple Listing Service or other cooperative marketing networks, open houses for agents, etc. The REALTOR Code of Ethics requires REALTORS to utilize these cooperative relationships when they benefit their clients.

10. Your REALTOR will know when, where and how to advertise your property. There is a misconception that advertising sells real estate. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS studies show that 82% of real estate sales are the result of agent contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, family and personal contacts. When a property is marketed with the help of your REALTOR, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Your REALTOR will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.

11. Your REALTOR can help you objectively evaluate every buyer's proposal without compromising your marketing position. This initial agreement is only the beginning of a process of appraisals, inspections and financing -- a lot of possible pitfalls. Your REALTOR can help you write a legally binding, win-win agreement that will be more likely to make it through the process.

12. Your REALTOR can help close the sale of your home. Between the initial sales agreement and closing (or settlement), questions may arise. For example, unexpected repairs are required to obtain financing or a cloud in the title is discovered. The required paperwork alone is overwhelming for most sellers. Your REALTOR is the best person to objectively help you resolve these issues and move the transaction to closing (or settlement).
Posted on 27 Feb 2014 by jessica
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