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What You Need to Know to Get Started When Financing a Home

Are you a first-time home buyer? If so, are you looking to purchase your first house? The reasons for buying a new home varies from one person to another. What is important is that you know and understand the different financing options that are available to you.

Mortgage: A long-term loan financing a home for the first time

The most common way to finance your real estate purchase is via a long-term loan referred to as a mortgage. According to Investopedia, a mortgage is a “debt instrument, secured by the collateral of specified real estate property, that the borrower is obliged to pay back with a predetermined set of payments.

The reality is that real estate is costly to buy and not many people have the funds saved up to make this purchase possible. Therefore, banks and other financial institutions offer qualified buyers long-term loans to enable them to pay for the home purchase.

Furthermore, the lender has a claim on the house while the loan is still active. In other words, should you not meet the monthly repayment commitments, the bank has the right to foreclose on the house. You will then lose the property as well as the money that you have already paid to reduce the outstanding loan amount.

Ways to finance your purchase 

There are different ways of financing a home purchase. As noted above, a traditional mortgage from a bank is the most common way of buying a home. Furthermore, as a first-time home buyer, you qualify for additional benefits such as reduced interest rates and reduced deposit amounts, etc. In the hope of attracting the first-time home buyer, different financial institutions will offer additional extras such as well as home buyer clubs and first-time homebuyer education courses.

To help you with some basic information, here are several ways to fund your new home:

FHA-insured mortgage 

The best way of describing an FHA-insured loan is to quote Wikipedia. Therefore, an FHA insured loan is a “US Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance backed mortgage loan which is provided by an FHA-approved lender.” Furthermore, the aim of an FHA-insured loan is to assist American citizens who, under normal circumstance, would not be able to afford to buy their home.

The Federal Housing Administration, commonly known as the FHA, does not give loans out to consumers. The job of FHA is to insure the loan against the future default of the borrower, hence, the mortgage insurance premium. This, in turn, reduces the risk that lenders take when extending loans to borrowers.

Family Loans  

It is becoming increasingly common for parents to lend their children the money to purchase a home. This arrangement usually ends up as a win-win situation for both parties as parents can realize a higher return on their money by charging a slightly higher interest rate than they would get under normal circumstances. Furthermore, children would be able to borrow money at a lower rate than they would get from a bank. It is worthwhile noting that, while this might sound like an idea arrangement (and for many it is), there is a slightly higher risk of parents losing their investment due to non-payment of the loan from their children.

Securities-backed mortgage 

In a nutshell, a securities-backed mortgage lender takes a certain percentage of a borrower’s stock investment portfolio as collateral for the loan for three to ten years. While the borrower holds these shares as collateral, they are considered inactive, and neither the borrower or the lender may trade in these stocks. The borrower also pays the interest on the loan amount for the duration of the loan. When the loan period has expired, the borrower has the option of selling the shares to pay for the loan capital, or he can take the shares back and pay the lender the total outstanding amount for the loan.

Cash purchase  

Even though it is highly unlikely that the first-time home buyer has managed to save the property’s full purchase price, it is a viable way of buying a home. Furthermore, in a perfect world, this is the best way to acquire a home. However, in real life, you would need to weigh up the advantages of renting a home while you save to buy a house versus the cost of renting a place and saving. I’m not sure how practical it is to rent a house while saving the total cost price of a new home. In essence, it might be better to take out a mortgage and use your monthly rent to pay off your property.

This content is by no means a comprehensive guide to what you need to know about home finance. Its aim, however, is to whet your appetite and give you an introductory guide into financing a home.

by nico2me


Financing a Home For Your First Mortgage

Are you in the process of purchasing your first home? If so, do you understand the ins and outs of the mortgage application process? There is no doubt that buying your first home is an exciting, yet nerve-wracking time. There is so much to consider; therefore, it is easy to wonder whether you are making the right decision or not. The good news is that there is plenty of help available for first-time home buyers. All you need to do is ask!

financing a home for the first time


What is a Mortgage?

In a nutshell, a mortgage is a long-term loan that has been designed to allow the borrower to pay for his new home. Fox Business explains further: “when you set out to purchase a home, no one expects you to have, say, $500,000 in cash. So that’s where a mortgage comes in: You borrow the extra money that you need to buy your chosen home, agreeing to pay it back in the coming years.

Because the mortgage loan amount is usually very high, the financial institution needs to be sure that you will repay the loan. Furthermore, you will notice that the lender will never lend you more than the value of the property, and he will take the house as collateral for the loan until the loan is paid off. Then you own the home “free and clear”!

Requirements to Apply For a Mortgage

Furthermore, the lender or financial institution needs to be sure that you will repay the loan, so they require certain documents to be attached to the mortgage application. This information will be used to calculate and assess your risk portfolio.

Depending on how high your risk portfolio is when the lender considers your application, he will either approve your application or turn down your application as the risk that you will default on the loan repayments is too high. Should your application be successful, the lender will then consider what interest rate to offer you; thus, a high-interest rate equates to a higher risk and vice versa.

To help you put the relevant documentation together, here is a list of what you need to attach to your mortgage application:

  • Credit

The mortgage lender will pull your credit and determine your FICO scores. However, you are entitled to request a copy of your credit score and your credit history yourself. In a nutshell, your credit score determines your creditworthiness. Your credit score needs to meet certain requirements to qualify for a particular mortgage product, depending on whether you are getting an FHA loan, a conventional loan, etc.

  • Income

The bank needs a copy of your latest paycheck stubs. You will be required to provide the last 30 days payslip. You will also need to present your previous two years of personal tax returns, along with all W2s and 1099s associated with your return. If you are self-employed, you will need to provide your last two years business and personal tax returns. Lenders will also ask for a copy of your current financial or profit and loss statement.

  • Total Debts

Not only does the bank want to know how much you earn every month, but it also wants to know what your monthly expenses are, and how much money you have available to cover the monthly loan repayments. It goes without saying that if your total costs do not allow you to repay your mortgage, your loan application will be unsuccessful.

  • Assets

The type of mortgage you want will determine the amount of down payment required to qualify for such. Most financial institutions expect at least a down payment of 10-20% of the sales price. The only exception to this rule is if you apply for an FHA-insured loan or another particular loan program.

To avoid paying Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), it is a good idea to put down a 20% deposit. Otherwise, you will have to take out an expensive insurance to protect the lender in case of a foreclosure.

Determine Your Budget

You need to determine what your maximum budget is. In other words, how much house can you afford to buy? For example, it is pointless applying for a house that is double the price you can afford. The bank will just turn down your loan application if you cannot prove that you can afford to repay the mortgage you need to take out to buy the property.

Getting pre-qualified by a mortgage lender will take care of the uncertainty on how much you can afford. It is, therefore, highly recommended that you get pre-qualified, if not pre-approved by a lender, before you start shopping for a house.

by nico2me


Understanding FHA 203(k) Loan Advantages

Homeownership continues to be a goal for most people, but there are often roadblocks preventing potential buyers from obtaining homes that fit both their needs and budgets. In many cases, customers simply can’t find a home they like and can qualify for. At other times, available homes are in the right areas and are priced right, but need extensive work to make them fit the buyers’ needs. That’s where FHA 203(k) Loans can play important roles.

What are the Loans Designed to Accomplish?

As alluded to earlier, FHA designed the program to allow buyers to purchase homes needing updating or other repairs to make them habitable. That means homes needing new plumbing, electrical wiring, or HVAC systems are prime candidates for the loans. If you’re looking for a home that’s in generally good condition and your ideal neighborhood, but needs an additional bedroom or bath area to meet your needs, a rehab loan may be a good option. Even homes needing structural repairs can be financed using a 203k rehab mortgage, so ask your Realtor if the seller would accept an offer requiring that type of mortgage.

Home financing using FHA 203K rehab loan

The Section 203(k) insurance enables the homeowner or home buyer to finance both the purchase of the house and the cost of rehabilitation through a single loan. It protects the lender by allowing them to have the loan insured in the event of future default by the borrower.

Changing Life Circumstances Don’t Mean You Have to Move

Even individuals already owning a property can take advantage of the FHA 203(k) Loans. Refinancing using one of the 203(k) options is possible when changing conditions necessitate. For example, if your family is expanding or an aging parent needs to move in, an FHA loan can be used to refinance an existing mortgage and provide the funds required to make any necessary changes to accommodate the new circumstances. The 203(k) program also provides financing for individuals facing mobility challenges. If a disability of any type has changed your life, consider discussing renovation needs with an FHA loan expert to explore your remodeling options.

Ancillary Structures Can Also Be Financed

When a new garage, porch, or deck would make your life simpler, FHA 203(k) mortgages can take care of those needs. Often, adding a new ancillary structure is more practical than moving, especially for families with children who would be upset with a move away from friends and schools. Updating is about more than just installing new appliances or siding. A new garage, for example, will protect a family vehicle, provide additional storage, and even offer space for a much-needed workshop area. Your FHA mortgage specialist will review your needs and suggest the best mortgage options that fit those needs.

Who Can Take Advantage of the Program?

Typically, FHA home loans are designed to provide a relatively simple path for potential buyers to acquire the financing they need. As a purchaser, you will find lenders more than willing to work on your income and credit scores to ensure the best loan possible is obtained. That doesn’t mean everyone will qualify for FHA 203(k) Loans, but the requirements are less demanding than for many other loan types. Your first step is to contact a local loan officer who is familiar with the requirements for a 203k rehab mortgage.

With low-interest rates and minimal down payments required, FHA 203(k) financing may well be your best choice for financing a home being purchased or refinancing an existing property. Because this type of financing may require as little as 3.5 percent down, it’s likely you’ll be able to qualify. Additionally, the program can be used to finance single family homes as well as multiple family properties containing up to four units. If you’ve got questions about a specific property qualifying for the 203(k) mortgages, contact a lender for clarifications.

Because the 203(k) loans are so adaptable, it pays potential borrowers to explore their use carefully. If you’re looking for a great way to finance a property or refinance an existing one, take the time to visit a loan professional before making any buying decisions. You’ll find out what specific loan restrictions apply to buying or rehabbing a home and, more importantly, you’ll be able to determine whether or not qualifying for the loan will pose any problems.

While there is lots of information online about various FHA loans, it’s always better to visit a lender to get details and discuss the evolving mortgage market in your area. If you’ve got questions, contact an experienced FHA loan expert today for help.

by mcneal


Fixed or Adjustable Rate Mortgage: Which One Is For Me?

Purchasing a house invariably is an interesting and nerve-racking at the same time. You might be thrilled with the idea of owning a home, particularly if you’re a first time home buyer. The thought of being a homeowner, all the things you will do to the house after you move in, the improvements you will make, kitchen upgrades, etc., these are all exciting, to say the least. However, the thought of financing and all the different types of home loans available out there in the market can be overwhelming and confusing. This is something that most first time home buyers need to understand and prepare for.

The two most common loan options you’ll see in the market are ARM or adjustable rate mortgages, and fixed rate mortgages or FRM. Each of them has its benefits and disadvantages. Which one suits your needs the best this particular time is something that must be tackled to determine which one is the best for you.

Fixed Rate Mortgage vs. Adjustable Rate Mortgage                                       home loans

Fixed rate mortgages are the most common and widely used type of mortgage. The interest rate on a fixed-rate mortgage does not change and remains constant for the whole term of the mortgage. A fixed rate mortgage has a significant advantage overall. First of all, a budget conscious person will find this type of loan most suitable for their needs. Since the interest rate is fixed throughout the life of the loan, a homeowner will have peace of mind knowing that the monthly mortgage payments will not change. It will be easier to come up with a budget that you can consistently keep, month in and month out. Needless to say, it is advisable for the conservative buyer to lean more towards a fixed rate mortgage when looking for a home loan.

Inversely, an adjustable rate mortgage works the other way around. A borrower can get a lower rate initially as compared to a fixed rate mortgage. You can buy a more expensive home that you might otherwise qualify for when getting a fixed rate. More home for your buck! But the interest rate is not set and will eventually change. With the change in interest rate comes along the change in monthly mortgage payments. With such type of loan, it’s tough to budget for future changes in monthly mortgage payments. Since the interest rate is directly tied to the bond market, the rate fluctuates all the time.

True, there is a cap that’s designed to keep the interest rate from changing extensively. Even the slightest fluctuation could be far too much for some homeowners to bear. Certainly, there’s also the chance that the rates will plunge. In such case, since your rate is adjustable, your mortgage payments will drop together with the interest rate.

When deciding whether a fixed rate mortgage or an adjustable rate mortgage is the best option for you, it is imperative that you consider several factors. Do you need a bigger and more expensive home or can you live with a smaller and decent house? Where do you see yourself years from now? Will you be making more money? Will you be moving up in the corporate ladder? How long do you see you and your family staying in the house you’re buying? Is it going to be for the long term or just temporary?

Determine if it is crucial to have the ability to arrange your finances per month without pondering if your home loan will rise or fall, but get a low-interest rate initially. Or would you rather pay a higher interest rate in the beginning but have a peace of mind knowing your mortgage payments will remain the same until such time that the loan has been paid off?

If you believe that you want the best of both worlds, keep in mind that you have other options too. If you think that the interest rate of a fixed rate mortgage is a bit too high right now, but you want the security of not having to worry about fluctuating interest rates, you may opt to buy the rate down in the form of discount points. Doing so will increase the total closing costs; therefore, you will need to bring more money to the closing table. However, it could be worth the initial cost of buying the rate down, especially in today’s market where the rate has been historically at its lowest level in years. More than likely, the interest rate will only go up from here.

If you decide to get an adjustable rate mortgage over a fixed rate mortgage, make sure you know exactly how high you can go with a fluctuating interest rate and still be comfortable with the monthly payments. Factor in the “wiggle room” in your monthly budget, just in case. This could be the difference between being able to afford to keep your house and losing it to foreclosure if the rate goes skyrocket in the future.

by nico2me


Common Mistakes People Commit When Buying a Home

Buying a home is an exhilarating time. More so for the first-time home buyer. But there’s more to the purchase of a home than simply putting money down and signing on the dotted line. Many homebuyer mistakes happen that can turn a dream home into a nightmare.

Pre-approvedfirst time home buyers

Before stepping into any potential listing, a new home buyer will want first to visit a bank or other lending organizations. Pre-approval for a mortgage loan is the only place to start. Mortgage companies are the rational voice that keeps a first-time home buyer from being their last.  There is a limit that a person can spend on a home. Going over that limit will only cause financial ruin down the road; sometimes very quickly.

Putting out all of a person’s finances and facing the reality that there is a limit on what they can spend isn’t glamorous.  But being pre-approved for a specific amount will ensure a purchase that is affordable.  Some people confuse pre-qualified with pre-approval.  They’re not the same.  A person may pre-qualify for a higher sum than what they will be approved for.  Pre-approval is the number that matters.  The pre-approved amount is the loan amount that will be extended for the home purchase.  This is probably one of the biggest homebuyer mistakes made, especially for first-time home buyers, but needs to be done before even looking at a new home.  Credit scores matter greatly for this and building up a good one before considering purchasing a home makes a difference.

Down Payment                                

Having a decent down payment on a new home is essential, and one homeowner mistake that is commonly misunderstood.  A minimum of 10% is required, but shouldn’t be the goal.  Other factors that come into play when buying a home will increase the actual amount needed to close on a house.  Points and closing costs, as well as inspection fees, mortgage insurance, homeowner’s insurance, and property taxes, will increase the down payment significantly.  Then there are the other costs involved such as moving costs that won’t even be counted in the final sale. Budgeting for 20% and putting 15% down will help to cover the other costs that will be there at the final sale.

Higher down payments will decrease the mortgage loan needed and allow for additional funds to be placed in a savings account for other homeowner costs.  These can and will consist of necessary home maintenance such as a new furnace or hot water tank.  It is recommended that a new home buyer put aside 1-2% of their mortgage payment yearly to cover the costs of maintaining a home.

Home Inspections

Many people think that home inspections are unnecessary.  They’ve looked over everything and have found a few minor things that they can easily take care of.  But home inspections are vital to knowing what a person will get with their new home.  Inspectors are trained to look for problems and will find things that won’t be seen by a star-struck new home shopper.

Many times this can be a cost transferred to the seller, but it’s usually the buyer’s responsibility.  It’s an investment that is well worth it and could save thousands of dollars.  Some problems can be negotiated into the selling price of the house, bringing the cost down.  First-time home buyers should never skip this step.  Since they’ve never owned a home before, finding problems is not their area of expertise.

Inspections should be done by an independent inspector.  It may be thought of as a kind gesture by the seller to have their inspector come in, but he is working for the seller.  Hiring an independent inspector will give an unbiased and accurate account of any and all problems.

Buying Agent vs. Selling Agent

Typically, when a person is shown a home, it is done so by the sales agent.  This is the person who is working for the house seller.  Their job is to sell the house.  Misunderstanding this role is a typical homebuyer mistake.  To receive accurate value for a home, having a buyer agent makes the difference.  These agents work for the purchaser to help negotiate on behalf of the buyer.  Too often this small, yet important detail is misunderstood.  To help understand the importance of this role, some people have referenced it to a divorce.  “If you were getting a divorce, you wouldn’t go to your spouse’s lawyer for advice, would you?”  The same thinking can be applied here.

Going it alone-Don’t Do It

Home buyers, especially first-time home buyers, try to cut costs to save money wherever they can. They do tons of research, study the trends and think they’ve got all the knowledge necessary to make their new home purchase by themselves.  This couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Having a financial advisor, a buying agent, and a lawyer are all necessary people to have as part of a team to make sure everything is done right.  A group of individuals working to contribute to making one of the biggest purchases a person will ever make essential.  The knowledge and expertise brought to the table by these people will provide value and fairness during the entire process.  Agents will know specific things to look for and to ask about.  Financial advisors will break down the numbers to assure all areas of owning a home are covered.  Lawyers understand the terminology and read the fine print on a contract to make sure everything is in the buyer’s best interest.  These upfront costs will save thousands of dollars in the end and will make the home buying process enjoyable long after the sale is made.  Buying a home is one of the largest investments anyone will make.  Applying a team of experts to ensure the process goes smoothly, from approval of the mortgage loan to the final turnover of the keys is essential.

There are many things that home shoppers don’t think of when considering buying a home.  These typical homebuyer mistakes can be easily avoided with just a little upfront thinking.  By taking just a few things into consideration, the dream of homeownership can be a sweet reality.

by nico2me