Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 2/26/2018

Saving for a down payment on a house can seem like an insurmountable challenge to first-time homebuyers. You donít have the benefit of equity built from owning previous homes, and most, if not all, of your income could be tied up in other places like paying rent and bills.

If this sounds like you, donít worry--youíre not alone. The good news is that there are some other things you might try before giving up on saving for a down payment.

In todayís post, weíre going to discuss a few techniques for saving for a down payment that you might not yet have thought of, and talk about how to can start saving sooner rather than later.

1. Know your options

Many first-time buyers arenít aware of all of the different mortgage types that may be available to them. VA loans, USDA loans, and more are all available to buyers who donít have a large down payment saved up.

Thereís also the common myth that your down payment needs to be at least 20% percent of the cost of the home. However, this number is more like an ideal figure that will allow you to avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Before determining how much you need to save, make sure you understand all of your options.

2. Learn the art of budgeting

Most of us use the term ďbudgetĒ as a vague word that means the amount of money we can spend.

The true point of a budget, however, is to gain a detailed understanding of where your money goes and to develop a plan.

One good method of budgeting is to do what budget experts call, ďgiving every dollar a job.Ē This means that you know where each dollar o your paycheck will go.

There are many tools available for you to use when budgeting. You can use a free app like a spreadsheet from Google Sheets, or a service that connects you your bank account like Mint. Mint will also let you set goals (such as saving for a down payment) so you can track your progress.

3. Asking for a raise

Depending on how long youíve been at your job and your work performance, it might be time to ask your employer for a raise up front. Many employers are more than happy to reward hard work and dedication, but just donít hand out money if they arenít asked.

4. Start that side hustle

There are a lot of ways to earn extra money in a service economy. From waiting tables at night to delivering packages for Amazon, and giving lifts in your car for Uber, there are numerous ways to earn some extra cash in the evenings.

Just remember that you want this project to be something thatís enjoyable or interesting, otherwise itís easy to burn out from overwork.

5. See if you have employee assistance options

Some employers offer housing assistance programs to their employees as a work benefit. If you havenít flipped through your HR packet in a while, now might be a good time to make sure youíre taking advantage of your options.





Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 1/29/2018

Many factors come into play when determining whether you can afford to buy a house. Since the monthly rent for an apartment is often close to what a mortgage payment would be, you can't help but wonder if your rent money would be better spent building equity in your own home.

While this is often the case, first-time home buyers often underestimate or overlook expenses that accompany home ownership. Although a mortgage broker or bank loan officer can help you calculate the maximum mortgage you can afford, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you weigh your options.

  • Create a detailed budget. By taking the time to figure out how your income stacks up to your monthly expenses, you can get a clearer picture of your financial situation. If you have a good credit score, a positive monthly cash flow, and enough funds to pay closing costs and a down payment, then home ownership may be a viable option. (Your credit score, which you can obtain once a year for free from the three main credit reporting companies, will have a major impact on both your interest rate and your monthly mortgage payments.)
  • Factor in other expenses: Figuring out your current budget is relatively easy, but predicting your future budget as a homeowner can be a lot more challenging. A big part of the equation will depend on the amount of property taxes and school taxes that will be tacked on to your mortgage costs. A real estate agent can provide you with those figures, as well as other information you need to calculate how affordable it would be to live in a particular house. They have access to a wide range of relevant information, such as utility expenses, water bills, and homeowner association fees (if there are any). Since property taxes sometimes cover the cost of services like garbage and yard waste collection, you may not have to factor in those items into your projected budget. Your real estate agent can help you come up with a rough estimate of home maintenance costs -- especially if they're familiar with the history of the home you're considering buying. As the process moves forward, a property inspector can provide you with more details about the condition of the home and whether any costly repairs are likely to be needed soon.
  • Home maintenance and furnishing costs: Other possible expenses to consider when estimating the cost of home ownership include yard maintenance, landscaping, HVAC service calls, electrician services, plumbing repairs, and homeowners' insurance. If you're a first-time home owner, there's also a good chance you'll need to buy some furniture to fill out those additional rooms!
  • Buying your first home definitely takes a lot of planning, budgeting, and research, but the rewards of owning your own home will more than justify the effort!





    Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 1/8/2018

    A low appraisal is a possibility when youíre buying a home. This can happen for a variety of reasons. If it happens to you, donít panic! 


    Once you get an offer accepted on a house you love, it may feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of your shoulders. As any seasoned homebuyer will tell you, this is only the beginning! 


    It can be tough for both the buyer and the seller when a deal seemingly falls apart due to an appraisal that comes in too low. This is a common occurrence and there are ways to work around it. 


    Reasons For A Low Appraisal


    There are a few reasons for a low appraisal including:


    Insufficient sales data for the area can often skew appraisal numbers

    Lenders may only lend up to a certain percentage of the appraised value


    If the appraisal comes in lower than what you offered for the purchase price of the home, youíll need to come up with the rest of the cash upfront in order to purchase the property. There are other options for you if you do come into this situation.


    The Appraisal Contingency


    The appraisal contingency is built into your sales contract and is a protection for the buyer, allowing them to walk away without financial burden if the appraisal comes in too low. This allows you room for negotiation on the sellerís part if they really are motivated. The contingency clause isnít a one-size-fits-all protection. Even with this clause, you could end up spending more out of pocket cash or walking away from the deal completely. Itís simply a protection.  


    What If The Appraisal Is Wrong?


    The appraisal can be submitted for review. The appraiser would need to explain why they didnít use comparable sales provided by the lender. The property can also be completely reevaluated. In addition, you can request a separate appraisal from your lender. The seller may even pay for the second appraisal in order to keep the deal from falling through. 


    Donít Offer More Than You Think The Property Is Worth


    When you base huge financial decisions on emotions, you could end up in a bad situation. Your offer that wins the house can quickly become a case of regret as a buyer. Many times in a tight real estate market, youíll need to make decisions fast. If you have a general idea of property values and work with a realtor to make an informed offer, youíll be in better shape to avoid a big headache. While you may be able to afford paying more than a house is worth, itís not a smart financial decision.       



    Low Appraisals Are An Opportunity


    A low appraisal should be thought of by the buyer as an opportunity to renegotiate the sale price of the home. This step in the home buying process is a protection for you as a buyer for one of the biggest purchases that youíll ever make.





    Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 1/1/2018

    A home inspection enables a buyer to examine a residence and identify any underlying structural issues. Plus, the assessment allows a buyer to receive a report that details a home inspector's findings to help him or her determine how to proceed in the homebuying journey.

    Ultimately, it helps to prepare as much as possible before you conduct a home inspection. If you allocate time and resources to get ready for a home inspection, you'll be better equipped than ever before to achieve the best-possible inspection results.

    Let's take a look at three tips to help you prepare for a home inspection.

    1. Hire an Expert Home Inspector

    There is no shortage of home inspectors for hire in cities and towns nationwide. However, differentiating an average home inspector from an expert one can be difficult.

    When it comes to getting ready for a home inspection, it pays to hire an expert to assess a residence both inside and out. Because if you have an expert home inspector at your side, you can learn about myriad home problems before you finalize a house purchase.

    To find an expert home inspector, it helps to reach out to home inspectors in your area. Learn about each home inspector's expertise and ask for client referrals. After you perform an extensive evaluation of home inspectors, you can hire an expert home inspector to assess any residence, at any time.

    2. Develop a Game Plan

    If you want to achieve the optimal results during a home inspection, it helps to enter the inspection with a plan in hand. That way, you can evaluate all aspects of a residence and improve your chances of identifying both minor and major home issues.

    Ensure your home inspection plan includes assessments of a house's interior and exterior, as well as a residence's attic, basement and roof. Also, you should test a home's heating and cooling system during an inspection.

    3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

    A home inspection may prove to be difficult if you fail to plan accordingly. Luckily, if you hire a real estate agent, you can get the support you need to maximize the value of a home inspection.

    Typically, a real estate agent will guide you along the homebuying journey. Once a seller accepts your offer on a home, a real estate agent can put you in touch with the best home inspectors in your area. Then, you, your real estate agent and your home inspector can work together to perform a successful home evaluation.

    A real estate agent will provide plenty of assistance after a home inspection too. And if you are uncertain about how to proceed with a house after an inspection, a real estate agent can offer recommendations to help you make an informed decision.

    Want to take the guesswork out of a home inspection? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can prepare for an upcoming home inspection.





    Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 12/18/2017

    Applying for a mortgage is one of the biggest decision that an individual can make in his or her lifetime. As such, it is important for a first-time homebuyer to dedicate the necessary time and resources to employ the best mortgage lender Ė without exception.

    So what does it take to hire the ideal mortgage lender? Here are three tips to help a first-time homebuyer quickly and effortlessly choose the right mortgage lender.

    1. Consider a Variety of Lenders

    There is no shortage of top-notch lenders in cities and towns across the United States. Thus, a first-time homebuyer can meet with a variety of credit unions and banks to explore all of the mortgage options at his or her disposal.

    Spend some time learning about lenders in your area. Look at each lender's experience and reputation, and you may be better equipped than other homebuyers to select the ideal lender based on your individual needs.

    Furthermore, conduct face-to-face meetings with lenders. These meetings will allow you to learn about a wide range of mortgage options and will make it easy for you to make an informed decision.

    2. Ask Plenty of Questions

    When it comes to getting a mortgage for the first time, there is no need to leave anything to chance. Instead, ask plenty of questions as you consult with assorted lenders, and you can gain the insights you need to pick a lender that matches or exceeds your expectations.

    Remember, there is no such thing as a "bad" question, particularly when it comes to mortgages. If you meet with various lenders, you can get all of your mortgage concerns and queries addressed without delay.

    A first-time homebuyer who asks lots of questions may be able to avoid potential financial pitfalls down the line too. In fact, this homebuyer should have no trouble selecting a great lender who can fulfill his or her mortgage needs for years to come.

    3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

    Let's face it Ė selecting a lender may prove to be exceedingly difficult. Fortunately, a real estate agent is happy to provide honest, unbiased advice to help you find the right lender in no time at all.

    A real estate agent understands the challenges of obtaining a terrific mortgage, and as a result, will do everything possible to help a homebuyer discover a lender that can provide outstanding support day after day. Plus, a real estate agent can even help a homebuyer alleviate stress as he or she searches for the right lender.

    Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent can provide throughout the entire homebuying journey, either. Typically, a real estate agent can keep a homebuyer informed about new residences as they become available, set up home showings, negotiate with a home seller on buyer's behalf and much more.

    Get the right mortgage any time you choose Ė use the aforementioned tips, and a first-time homebuyer can streamline the process of selecting the ideal lender.




    Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips