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Think You’re Ready To Buy a House? Here’s 4 Signs.

home rent

“Am I ready to buy a house, or should I just keep renting?”

It’s one of the questions that we hear most often and something to which first-time homebuyers often spend months, if not years, trying to figure out the answer.

Below are a list of four tell-tale signs that you’re ready to bite the bullet and take the leap into homeownership:

Sign #1: You’re ready to settle down

The first sign that you’re in the right mindset to become a homeowner is that you’re ready to stay put — at least for a little while.

rental home

Conventional wisdom states that in order for your purchase to make financial sense, you’ll want to plan on staying put for at least the next five years. When you sit down to think about house hunting, you’ll want to use that timeframe as your reference point.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can you see yourself staying at your job for that long, or will you be looking for new opportunities?
  • If the right position came along, would you be willing to move for it?
  • Do you like the area you’re living in, or would you like to explore other options?
  • Do you see your living situation changing soon?
  • Are you planning on moving in with a significant other or expanding your family?

If these questions make you squirmy, the idea of looking five years into the future still feels a little too far ahead for you to grasp, or you still want to see where life takes you, you may want to consider renting for a bit longer or thinking about a for-a-few-years home vs. a forever home.

2. You’re done living paycheck-to-paycheck

leasing a home

Let’s face it, becoming a homeowner is expensive.

Not only is there a monthly mortgage payment to consider, which will likely be more than your current rent check, but prospective homebuyers need to be prepared to come up with a sizable down payment, shoulder a portion of the closing costs, and have the dough to take care of any necessary repairs.

Luckily, there is a way that you can prepare for the added financial pressure before the big day comes and understand how much house you can afford. Use a mortgage calculator to estimate what a monthly payment could base on the type of home you’re looking to buy. Then, subtract the amount you pay in rent each month, and aim to put the remainder into savings.

Start by working towards a down payment that could be worth 3%-10% of a home’s sale price, and then move onto a separate emergency fund.

3. You’re ready for more responsibility

home renter

Once you find a home and actually buy it, that’s really where all the fun begins.

Yes, owning a home means that you have a lot more freedom to improve the property as you see fit — whether that means putting in an entirely new kitchen or redoing the hardwood floors.

However, in addition to that creative freedom comes an added layer of responsibility. As the homeowner, you’re the one who is responsible for any necessary maintenance and upkeep on the property.

Think about what you’re like as a tenant now.

Are you willing to roll up your sleeves and help with small tasks or are you relieved to know that you have someone to call? If you’re less handy, you may want to take some time to familiarize yourself with common home maintenance tasks before committing to buying anything. It always helps to have a fair idea of what you’re getting into.

4. You know what you’re looking for

renter on vacation

Last but not least, though it may sound self-explanatory, when you’re trying to determine whether or not you’re ready to buy a home, it’s useful to have an idea of what you’re looking for.

You don’t have to have every single detail set in stone. (In fact, it’s preferable if you leave some room to flexibility in your home search.) That said, though, having a basic set of parameters in mind will make the homebuying process go much easier.

Here, you’ll want to think about the most important factors that you absolutely must have in a home. These will be the things that you would not feel comfortable buying a home without. This may include details like your preferred location, an ideal number of bedrooms and bathrooms, a target sale price, or any specific must-have features like that perfect picture window view.

If you have a strong idea of your must-haves and can’t see that changing in the near future, and the above signs sound like you, you may just be ready to take the plunge into home ownership. If not, there’s no shame in the game waiting.


This article originally appeared on OpenListings.



The Basics of FHA 203k Loans

There are certain qualities we look for in a home: the neighborhood, the accessibility, the overall feel of the place, or maybe its potential. Sometimes, we find what we look for in a property that needs a little work — a bit of fixing here and there to make it more conducive for living.

And then we find ourselves wanting to buy a fixer-upper.

203k loan

FHA 203k loan: What is it?

Fixer-uppers can be a good idea. With a few minor upgrades, the home can be revived to its former glory, which consequently increases its market value. However, mortgage lenders are not very eager about shelling out money for a house that needs repairs. That’s where the FHA 203k loans come in.

The government insures FHA 203k loans. For this reason, home mortgage lenders consider a fixer-upper home they would have otherwise rejected. As long as the property meets certain livability standards, the 203k will provide the finances for both the purchase and necessary improvements. That’s basically two transactions in a single loan.

The FHA rehab home loan is not only for those who wish to acquire a fixer-upper, it’s also for families who aspire to refinance their current home and perform needed renovations.

FHA 203k Requirements

Since the FHA 203k loan is a sub-type of the FHA loan, it adheres to the same less stringent standards for qualification. The loan allows credit scores as low as 580, and only demands a 3.5% down payment, based on the purchase price plus the total cost of the project. A 43% debt-to-income ratio is also required. This means that 43% of the borrower’s gross earnings should be able to cover the mortgage payments and all other debts.

What repairs can be made?fha home renovation loan program

There are 2 types of the FHA rehab home loan, depending on the degree of work involved.

The 203k streamline covers relatively minor facelifts like bathroom and kitchen remodeling, change of flooring, painting jobs, appliance replacement, roof-work, and many more, as long as they do not alter the structure of the home.

The 203k standard, on the other hand, lets the borrower do any desired improvements and upgrades, except the addition of luxury amenities like tennis courts and swimming pools.

How to apply?

The process of applying for a 203k loan is almost similar to that of a regular FHA loan, but it would entail plenty of work after the loan is approved.

First, a decision should be made on which repairs are essential and what issues need to be addressed. Next is finding a licensed and insured contractor who would do the job and make accurate bids. The final bid is submitted by the lender to the appraiser, who determines the loan amount based on the future value of the property. When all the mandatory paper works are completed, the loan can be closed.

Is it for you?

If you are willing to rise up to the challenge, which includes the amount of paperwork that needs to be in compliance, the longer waiting time for loan approval, and the effort it takes to look for and negotiate with contractors, then the FHA rehab home loan might be for you. Who knows? That fixer-upper could be a diamond in the rough.

by nico2me


Finding That Perfect Place: A Home-Buying Guide for Seniors

Finding the right retirement homeBuying a home in today’s market can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t need to be. With the right amount of research, planning, and some professional assistance, you can make the process much easier. Here is what you need to know when buying a home as a senior.

Find the Right Home

When looking for the perfect home for retirement, there are many things you need to consider. You should look for areas that have affordable housing, low levels of taxation, and whatever personal aspects that will make you happy. That could mean being in the vicinity to a beach, having access to good health care, or being close to family. Don’t forget to check on the crime rates, cost of living overall, and access to the leisure activities of your choice. Remember, this is the perfect time to indulge in all the things you have wanted to do but have been too busy to manage. However, make sure whatever it is you’re seeking is well within your price range.

Plan Your Finances

There is much to consider financially before making an offer on a home, including how much house you can realistically afford. You shouldn’t pay more than 30 percent of your total income on any mortgage, should you have a mortgage. Base the home’s price range on your annual income while also thinking of your monthly spending. Take into account that, on average, you will need to put down 20 percent of the total cost as a down payment.

Most mortgages are 30-year loans with roughly 4 percent APR, but there are other options. Depending on the size of your down payment, you may opt for a shorter loan. There are online calculators that can help you determine your specific affordability. Make certain that, whatever you do, you shop around before deciding on a loan. You may love your bank, but another institution may give a better interest rate. After all, you do not want to be encumbered with a large amount of debt while on a limited income.

The Professionals

If you feel stuck or overwhelmed by the starting process, don’t hesitate to reach out to a mortgage broker. They can be invaluable in helping you decide what you can afford, what sort of costs you can expect overall, and the best type of loan for your situation. If you need assistance with the actual moving process, there are people available to help. Especially if you’re downsizing, a professional organizer may prove invaluable. They can help you not only sort through your household items and pack but also decide what you can let go of.

Needless to say, if you don’t have any friends or family that own a large truck, hiring movers may be the best option. Ask your friends whom they have used, research each company’s reputation, and get multiple estimates to find a good price. At the very least, ascertain whether they are insured or not and if they have a license.

Moving Day

To have an easy moving day, ensure that your valuables and personal data are secured and travel only with you. Have things packed and ready to go beforehand, and in boxes that are clearly labeled. The last thing you will want to do after a long move is search for every item you need. By labeling clearly, you can make sure each box goes into the correct room of your new home to make unpacking easier. Stay hydrated and well-fed during the day itself. This will help keep your energy levels up and moods high. Despite the excitement and anxiety associated with a move, do try to get a good night of sleep beforehand. Being well-rested will make everything easier, give you more energy, and help you focus throughout the day.

Moving can be stressful, but also cathartic. Find your perfect retirement house, prepare for your move, and get there smoothly by following these easy tips. This is your time to live your best life, after all. Retirement is the perfect opportunity to experience all that life has to offer.



Image Courtesy of Pixabay.com


Houston VA Home Loans, Who Qualifies, and More

Houston VA Home Loans continue to be a great option for veterans, current service members, and eligible surviving spouses who wish to own a home. The VA works to help individuals who qualify to buy or build a residence, repair an existing one, retain one they are in danger of losing, or adapt a home to meet their unique needs. The loans are offered through private lenders, including mortgage companies and banks, and the VA guarantees a portion of this loan, allowing lenders to provide those in the military with more favorable terms.

VA Home Loan Eligibility                          VA home loans

To qualify for a VA mortgage loan, the borrower must have a valid Certificate of Eligibility provided through the military and have sufficient income to repay the mortgage. In addition, the VA requires suitable credit and the home must be intended for personal occupancy. Home loans guaranteed by the VA may be used to build a home, buy an existing home or condominium in a project approved by the VA, or to buy and improve a home at the same time. In addition, the money may be used to buy a manufactured home, a lot or a combination of the two, or it may be used to make energy-efficient improvements to an existing home.

Benefits Of VA Home Loans

A veterans home loan helps buyers purchase a house at an interest rate that is competitive. Often, the home may be purchased without the need for private mortgage insurance or any down payment. Homeowners who wish to lower their existing interest rate may take advantage of a streamline refinance loan or an Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) to obtain a lower rate, and Native American veterans find they may use the program to purchase, construct, or improve a home that is located on Federal Trust Land or lower their existing interest rate. Adaptive housing grants and other resources are also offered to veterans looking to purchase or refinance an existing home.

Applying For VA Loans

Individuals need to understand what is required before applying for Houston VA loans. The borrower must have a current Certificate of Eligibility if they wish to purchase a home, although those looking to refinance an existing property won’t be required to obtain a new document. Those looking to take advantage of the Native American Direct Loan Program must first determine whether their tribal organization participates in the program. If the organization does, then a Certificate of Eligibility will be required here also. Individuals looking to take advantage of an adaptive housing grant need to complete the VA Form 26-4555 and submit the completed document to the nearest regional loan center. This document may also be completed online.

Look into Houston VA Home Loans when the time comes to buy or keep a home. There are numerous benefits of going this route. Current service members, veterans, and surviving spouses deserve special care and attention as they have given so much to this country. A VA home loan continues to be a great way to give back to them and thank them for their service.

For more information, contact our VA Home Loan Specialists at 281-860-2533.


by nico2me


The Important Areas of USDA Home Loans

The most popular item or product offered by the agency for Rural Development is the USDA Home Loan and the reasons for this are not far-fetched. Other important but less popular products offered by the agency include repair and refurbishment credit, grants, and community-level facility financing.

Why choose USDA Home loans?                                                                    USDA-Home-Loans-Houston

There is a guidebook provided by the agency to first-time homebuyers, highlighting the kind of monetary sources which are usually minimal and the required personal and home-based qualifications for getting a USDA Home Loan. The guide states in clear terms the requirements that must be met to be eligible for a USDA loan. It is therefore important for intending home buyers that plan to go for USDA loans to go through this book carefully and understand its content before proceeding to apply.

Over the years, the USDA Home Loan has become synonymous with Multiple-occupant or Single family guaranteed loan. Here, it is usually advised for a loan applicant in the low to medium income bracket to scale up his or her per capita income limit by 115%. Some of the great features of USDA home loans that have made it endearing to many home buyers include its long maturity of up to thirty years and the fact that there is no down payment as part of its compulsory requirements. Other credit programs that offer 100% upfront besides USDA loans include the almost-no-strings-attached Single Family Direct Home, among other farm laborers’ and rental programs.

While USDA home loans undoubtedly come with exciting packages and features that make most home buyers go for them, it is important to note that there are other loan packages that you might want to review within the repayment period.

In recent times, studies have revealed that some mortgage premiums will be 2 percent of closing costs. A simple illustration of this figure means that a home buyer intends to purchase a house of $200,000 and subsequently obtains this same sum of money from the lender, he or she is required to remit 2 percent of the borrowed amount which is $4,000, before he starts to pay the monthly premium. This amount is considerably low especially when one considers that there are no down payments required.

A 2 percent rate is also required for refinancing, which is subject to changes. The balance at the end of the year attracts a surcharge of 0.40 percent and this subsequently goes down as time goes. The lesser the outstanding balance, the lesser the impact on the closing rate.

The fees mentioned above tend to change based on government policies and economic realities. An example is the passage of the bill by the United States Congress on New Year’s Day 2013 when a bill to arrest the fiscal cliff was passed, though it seemed almost too little too late. However, regardless of the economic conditions, the USDA always try to review its rate to ensure that low-income earners benefit from the scheme to make their dreams of owning a home come true.

The flexibility of the USDA Home Loan is remarkable as it is not only easy to understand, but it also allows one to streamline insurance and closing rates into the rest of the mortgage. A good example is for an intending home buyer that does not have the required $4,000 insurance amount stated in the illustration above. In this situation, the buyer only has to appendage the amount to the rest of the opening balance. This makes the total amount came to $204,000 without having to pay a dime on the first day.

It is also important to note that the USDA Home Loan can only be assessed for areas classified as rural by the agency for Rural Development and the United States Government. Such areas could be quasi-urban in some cases, depending on the population density and income.

The USDA Home Loan is one of the easiest loans designed for home buyers in the United States. It is however surprising that not too many residents of the US opt for this rural development loan program. The guidelines and tips given above will help intending home buyers use this loan program to make their dreams come true.

by nico2me