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Beat the Rising Interest Rates!

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Mortgage Rates have risen to the highest level since 2014, with a likely hood to keep increasing through out the year. What does this mean for you? Acting sooner than later will make sure that you are locking in a lower rate.

Rates have already passed 4% in the last months, property economists have predicated that mortgage rates may rise to as high as 5.5% by 2018. This small percentage difference may not seem like a lot, but over the life of a mortgage, this can mean tens of thousands of dollars to the buyer. 

Following the increase in mortgage rates, home prices are predicted to see an equal increase in 2017. This means that home buyers will see a double hit in the cost of owning a home in the next year. Combining higher mortgage rates with home values going up, it will become more difficult to buy that home you are looking for. So beat the increase, go find your future home! 

Final Home Inspection Walk-Through

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Before the purchase of your new home is final, a final inspection of the home will need to be completed, A final walk-through is an inspection performed anywhere from a few hours to five days before closing, and its primary purpose is to make certain that the property is in the condition you agreed to buy. Even if you are pressed for time, it is vital that you inspect the property to  ensure that all agreed-upon repairs have been made and nothing has changed with the property since you last looked at it.

Before you begin your inspection, it is a good idea to make a list of things to look for so you can be prepared.  It is also recommended that you have your Sales Contract with you so that you can review any items that should be included with the house.

Here is a list of items to check on a final walk-through:

  • Did the movers bang up the walls, rip the rugs or scratch the wooden floors?
  • Did the moldings around the doors get damaged when they moved an appliance from a room?
  • Does the heating and air conditioning system still work?
  • Are all of the appliances still working?
  • Have all the items that the seller agreed to remove from the home out of the home?
  • Turn on and off every light fixture
  • Run water & look under sinks for leaks
  • Open and close all doors and doors
  • Flush toilets
  • Inspect ceilings, wall and floors
  • Make sure any repairs that were agreed upon have been made

Unfortunately, things don't always go as planned and you may find that there are some issues that have not been taken care of as agreed. You do have options in case this happens. It is a good idea to work with an attorney to come to a satisfactory arrangement.

 

 

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Pros And Cons Of Fixed Rate Mortgages

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

If you are in the market for a new home, chances are you have researched the different types of financing. There are many types of mortgage products on the market today.  But the vast majority of them are fixed rate mortgages with a 15 year or 30 year term.  These traditional mortgages are amortizing, which means that you pay off the entire loan amount by the end of the term of the loan. While these are still the most common type of loan, there are advantages and drawbacks to these mortgages.  Depending on your financial situation, and the prospects of changes in your financial future, a fixed rate mortgage may or may not be the best product for you.

     Let's look at the pros and cons of fixed rate mortgages:

PROS

  • Interest rate on your mortgage cannot be increased for the life of your loan
  • Monthly payment will remain the same for the life of the loan
  • Loan will be completely paid off by the end of the term

CONS

  • Fixed monthly payment amount may be difficult to make at the start of the loan
  • Large percentage of payment goes to interest payment in first years of the loan
  • Usually has a higher interest rate than a variable rate loan initiated at the same time
  • Interest rate cannot be reduced as in some variable rate programs
  • Maybe harder to qualify for, as higher income may be required

Depending on your financial situation, a fixed rate mortgage may be the best solution for you.  If you can afford the monthly payment required to obtain the loan, then the fact that your interest rate and monthly payments will stay the same for the life of the loan while give you peace of mind and make monthly budgeting easier.

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Common Problems With FHA Loans

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

If you're planning to buy a home and are researching the different types of financing, you might apply for an FHA mortgage.

This type of mortgages are great for first-time homebuyers, buyers, buyers with bad credit as well as those homebuyers who do not have the funds for 20% downpayment.

With an FHA loan, it helps banks mitigate this risk by insuring otherwise risky borrowers' mortgages. The FHA agrees to pay the difference between what a home gets at a post-foreclosure auction and what's still owed on the home when a borrower defaults.

With the sluggish economy and problems with the real estate market, the FHA may soon begin tightening its loan standards, leaving some borrowers without the financing they need.

Below are a few of some potential roadblocks you might encounter if you are applying for an FHA loan, and how to get through them.

  • The FHA requires a new property to be livable from day one. As a result, the agency has a strict inspection requirement intended to catch any potential health or safety hazards. You should make sure everything is in working order and address things like a broken window, or a broken fire alarm, as these can create significant delays in the buying process. It is of course difficult to repair these issues if you are not yet the property owner but you will need to communicate with the seller and negotiate the necessary repairs.
  • The FHA also has limits for how high a borrower's debt-to-income ratio can be. It will be more difficult for homebuyers who have more than 30 percent of their monthly income on a mortgage payment or 43 percent on all debts combined. Below are also some additional requirements borrows will need to face:  Show consistent or increasing income, have a steady employment record (at least 2 or more years with the same employer) as well as have no bankruptcies in the last two years.
  • Another issue is that if the property appraisal comes in below the price you've negotiated, the deal is off. A possible solution is that the buyer could try to come up with a larger down payment to help to make up the difference between the appraisal and the negotiated price or possibly negotiate a new price based on the appraisal. Buyers have the advantage in today's real estate market, so the chances of a motivated seller accepting a lower price is good.            

 

First Time Homebuyer Tips

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Every new homeowner will feel the sense of excitement and pride once they turn the key in their lock in their new home for the very first time. There are some thing that first time homeowners should try to follow to help make the transition into homeownership successful.

1. Don't Overspend on New Furniture and Remodeling 
Buying a home and moving is expensive, there is no argument on that. First time homebuyers can typically have an eye opener when it comes to all the costs involved as well as the increase in monthly utility expenses that may be substanically more than when they rented.  It can be very tempting to spend more money on new furniture, furnishsing for the home and remodeling projects. However, give yourself time to adjust to the expenses of home ownership and rebuild your savings - the projects and that new sofa will still be waiting for you when you can more comfortably afford them.

2. Address Important Maintenance Items 
New homeowners will need to budget for the new expenses that accompanies home ownership-  making repairs. It can be a shock to realize that you will need to address all maintenance issues that come up like plumbing problems, a leaky roof as there is no landlord to call!  It is important to not neglect any problem that could get worse over time, turning a relatively small problem into a much larger and costlier one.

3. Seek Professional Tax Advice When Filing Your Tax Return 
Even if you hate the thought of spending money on an accountant when you normally do your returns yourself, and even if you're already feeling broke from buying that house, hiring an accountant to make sure you complete your return correctly and maximize your refund is a good idea. Home ownership significantly changes most people's tax situations and the deductions they are eligible to claim. Just getting your
taxes professionally done for one year can give you a template to use in future years if you want to continue doing your taxes yourself. And remember, tax preparation expenses are tax deductible, so whatever your marginal tax rate is, think of that as a discount on the cost of the service.

4. Get Properly Insured 
Your mortgage lender will require you to purchase
homeowners insurance, enough to fully replace the property in the event of a total loss. However, you will also need to consider obtaining insurance coverage to help pay your mortgage should you be unable to make the payments.  If you share your home with anyone who relies on your income to help pay the mortgage, whether it's a spouse or a child, you'll need life insurance with that person named as a beneficiary so he or she won't lose the house if you die unexpectedly. Mortgage insurance is another option to help safeguard your home in the event you cannot make your monthly payments.

Owning a home is wonderful but also comes with great responsibilities. It can be difficult to manage your finances well enough to keep the home and maintain the home's condition well enough to protect your investment.

Spring Is A Great Time To Buy

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Spring has officially arrived! If you are selling your home, the spring and summer months are traditionally the busiest times of year for the residential real estate market. Eventhough the current real estate market has sellers dealing with fierce competition, buyers are getting some amazing homes at great prices.

If you're in the market for a house this spring, below are some tips you can take to give you the advantage to get the best deal.
  • If you're going to work with a real estate professional, be sure to research and interview a few to make sure you are comfortable with them. Be sure to get references and be honest to let them know what your expectations are.
  • Make sure to get your loan pre-approved. This will give you the upper hand in several ways. You will know upfront how much you will be able to finance and it shows the seller that you are serious and ready to buy when you make an offer.
  • Be flexible. If your Realtor calls with a listing that matches your criteria and wants to show you the home right away, beady to make an offer -- quickly.
  • Don't forget to look at the potential in homes. Of course there are only so many thing you can change, but if minor things are standing in your way, such as paint or carpet color or flooring, don't forget that these are easy changes to make and could create a whole different space!I

Now is a great time to buy and spring only makes your choices more plentiful! Check out the latest lstings and contact me to view them!

Home Buyer Loan Process - What You Need

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Once you have selected the type of loan you prefer and qualify for, the lender will ask you to complete a loan application, which will require a great deal of personal and financial information, including the following:

1) Your residence history
• Your previous addresses for the past two years
• The length of time you’ve lived at each address
• If you currently rent, your landlord’s name and addresses (for past 12 months)

2) Your employment history
• The names and addresses of all your employers for the past two years
• The dates you worked at each place of employment
• If there have been any gaps in your employment, explain why

3) All outstanding loans and credit cards
• The creditor’s name(s) and address(es)
• Your account number(s)
• The current total balance you owe and the months left to pay
• The amount of the monthly payment

4) Savings, checking or investment accounts
• The names and addresses for each financial institution
• Your account numbers • The current balance or value

5) Real estate you currently own
• The property address(es)
• The estimated market value
• The outstanding loan balance
• The amount of your monthly payment (including taxes, insurance, homeowner’s association dues)
• The amount of your rental income (if applicable) 6) Personal property you own • The net cash value of your life insurance
• The make, year and value of your automobile(s)
• The value of your furniture, jewelry and other personal property 7) Tax records • Some lenders may require copies of your tax records from the previous two years

If you would like to discuss the loan process and to become a pre-qualified buyer, please call us or request a loan analysis.

Displaying blog entries 1-7 of 7

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Contact Information

Photo of Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, SRES, SFR Real Estate
Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, SRES, SFR
Iowa Realty
3521 Beaver Ave.
Des Moines IA 50310
515-240-2692
Fax: 515-453-6404
 

 

 

Licensed in the State of Iowa