Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 3/5/2018

After a home seller accepts your offer on a home, the next step usually involves a home inspection.

At this point, you'll hire a home inspector who will walk through the home you'd like to buy and offer expert insights into the residence's strengths and weaknesses. Then, you'll be able to assess potential issues with a home and determine whether to move forward with a home purchase.

A home inspection can be stressful, particularly for a first-time homebuyer. Lucky for you, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of home inspections.

Ultimately, there are many questions to consider after a home inspection is completed, including:

1. What did the home inspection reveal?

A home inspection offers unparalleled insights into a residence. It enables you to look beyond a house's surface and find out whether major repairs will be required both now and in the future.

Hiring an experienced home inspector is paramount for homebuyers. With an experienced home inspector at your disposal, you'll be better equipped than others to identify "hidden" problems within a house.

Also, don't forget to review a home inspection report closely. With this information at your disposal, you'll be able to understand whether a residence meets your expectations.

Be sure to consider the long-term value of a property as well. Remember, a home that you plan to purchase should be able to serve you well for years to come. But if you encounter myriad home issues during a property inspection, you may want to consider rescinding your offer on a residence and restarting your search for the ideal house.

2. Are there major home issues?

As a homebuyer, it is important to be able to identify the differences between major and minor home issues.

For example, if there are tiny cracks and chips in the paint on a kitchen's walls, these issues are minor. In fact, you may be able to repair such issues quickly and effortlessly.

On the other hand, an old, inefficient furnace can cause major headaches. Without a properly functioning furnace, you may struggle to heat your home in winter. Meanwhile, it may cost several thousand dollars to replace this furnace.

If you encounter problems with a residence during a home inspection, consider the costs associated with these issues. By doing so, you'll be able to determine how much you may need to spend to correct such problems and can proceed with a home purchase accordingly.

3. What should I do next?

An informed homebuyer will be equipped with the knowledge and insights needed to make a great decision.

Consider the problems that were discovered during a home inspection. If you can fix home issues without having to commit substantial time and resources to complete various home maintenance projects, you may want to consider moving forward with a home purchase.

If you encounter major home issues, you can always ask a home seller to perform home repairs. Or, you may want to remove your offer on a home altogether.

Working with a real estate agent is ideal, especially for homebuyers who want help with home seller negotiations. With assistance from a real estate agent, you should have no trouble determining how to proceed after a home inspection.

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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 2/26/2018

You can ask any homeowner-buying and owning a home is expensive. Mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities, and other bills quickly add up.

If you want to buy a home but donít have a large down payment saved, odds are youíve discovered something called private mortgage insurance (PMI).

PMI is an extra monthly payment that you make (on top of your mortgage payment) when you donít have enough to make a large (20%) down payment on your home.

However, if you want to buy a home and donít want to tack on an extra monthly payment for PMI, you have options. In todayís post, Iím going to talk about some ways to avoid paying PMI on your mortgage so you can save more money in the long run.

PMI Basics

Before we talk about getting rid of PMI, letís spend a minute on what to expect when you do have to pay it.

PMI typically costs 0.30% to %1.15% of your total loan balance annually. That means that your PMI payments will decrease a moderate amount as you pay off your loan.

Furthermore, once you have paid off 22% of your loan, your PMI will be cancelled and youíll only be responsible for your regular monthly mortgage payments.

Getting PMI waived early

With conventional loans, you can request to have your PMI cancelled once youíve paid off 20% of the mortgage. However, many buyers with PMI are using some form of first-time buyer loan, such as an FHA loan.

With an FHA loan, youíll be stuck with PMI for the lifetime of the loan if you donít make a down payment of 10% or more. Thatís a lot of PMI payments, especially if you take out a 30 year loan, and it can quickly add up.

If you have an FHA loan with FHA insurance, the only way to cancel the insurance is to refinance into a non-FHA insured loan. And remember--refinancing has its own costs and complications.

Making it to the 20% repayment mark

On conventional loans, the best way to get rid of PMI is to reach your 20% repayment mark as soon as possible. That could mean aggressively paying off your mortgage until you reach that point.

This can be achieved by making extra payments, or just paying more each month. However, you donít want to neglect other debt that could be accruing costly interest in favor of paying off your loans. Make sure you do the math and find out which debt will be more expensive before neglecting other debt.

Once you do reach the 20% repayment mark, youíll have to remember to apply to have your PMI canceled with your lender. Otherwise, it will be canceled automatically at 22%.

Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 2/5/2018

A homebuying negotiation may cause your stress levels to rise. However, as you work toward purchasing your dream house, there is no need to worry. In fact, there are many ways that you can limit stress as you finalize a home purchase, including:

1. Discuss Your Homebuying Concerns with Family Members and Friends

Family members and friends offer plenty of support. Thus, these loved ones are happy to listen to you and help you in any way possible, no matter what happens during a homebuying negotiation.

Don't be afraid to ask family members and friends for homebuying advice, either. These loved ones may be able to share their past homebuying negotiation experiences with you. And by doing so, your family members and friends could provide you with valuable insights that may help you move one step closer to acquiring your ideal residence.

2. Consider the Big Picture

Buying a home likely will be one of the biggest transactions that you'll complete in your lifetime. At the same time, it is important to note that there are plenty of fish in the sea. Therefore, you should try to remember that even if a home purchase agreement falls through, dozens of high-quality houses are still available in cities and towns nationwide.

Sometimes, it helps to take a step back during a homebuying negotiation. If you can inhale and try to relax, you may be better equipped than ever before to stay calm, cool and collected during a negotiation. With a fresh perspective, you could boost the likelihood of coming to terms with a seller and finalizing a home purchase agreement.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to purchasing a house, there is no need to embark on the homebuying journey alone. Fortunately, if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive expert support as you navigate the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent understands the stress associated with purchasing a house and will do everything possible to help you alleviate your homebuying worries. He or she can explain the homebuying process and respond to any concerns or questions. Plus, a real estate agent can negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf to help you get the best price on your dream residence.

Furthermore, a real estate agent provides support after a seller accepts your offer to purchase a residence. A real estate agent will help you set up a home inspection, conduct this inspection with you and ensure you can complete a full review of the inspection results. In addition, a real estate agent can help you prepare for a home closing and ensure you can finalize a home purchase as quickly as possible.

There is no need to let stress get the best of you during a homebuying negotiation. By using the aforementioned tips, you can keep your stress levels in check as you negotiate a home purchase and accelerate the process of purchasing your dream home.

Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 1/15/2018

Ready to enter the housing market and find your dream residence? Ultimately, there are many signs that indicate now may be the perfect time to buy a house, including:

1. Your family is growing.

If you recently got engaged to the love of your life, tied the knot with that special someone or have kids on the way, now may prove to be an ideal time to buy a house.

A home offers plenty of space, ensuring that you and your entire family can reap the benefits of a superb living space. Plus, many affordable mortgage options are available, making it easy for you to purchase a house without having to worry about breaking your budget.

Before you begin your home search, consult with a real estate agent Ė you'll be glad you did! Your real estate agent can help you determine exactly what you'd like to find in a home, ensuring that you can purchase a house that meets or exceeds your expectations.

2. You've secured a new job.

Now that you've landed your dream job, you may want to consider pursuing your dream house as well.

With a new, high-paying job in hand, you may be better equipped than ever before to make monthly mortgage payments on a residence. Also, you can work with a credit union or bank to secure a mortgage that matches your budget.

Furthermore, if you've landed a job that is several hours away from your current location, you may need to relocate. And if you hire an experienced real estate agent, you should have no trouble finding a great residence quickly and effortlessly.

An experienced real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the housing market. As such, he or she can help you narrow your home search and discover the perfect home.

3. You're ready to make a change.

Are you getting tired of your current neighborhood or living situation? Or, do you want to relocate from a cold-weather climate to a warm-weather region? If you're ready to make a change in your life, now may be a wonderful time to purchase a house in a new city or town.

Buying a house represents a life-changing decision and should not be taken lightly. However, those who are ready to make a change may want to buy a home in a new city or town so they can settle down and enjoy life in a different part of the country.

For those who are considering a change, meeting with a real estate agent is paramount. Your real estate agent can offer housing market data to ensure that you can secure a terrific house at a budget-friendly price. In addition, your real estate agent can serve as a housing market expert who will be able to answer your homebuying concerns and questions at any time.

Employing a real estate agent can make a world of difference for a homebuyer. Collaborate with a real estate agent today, and you can explore a wide array of homebuying options.

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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 12/11/2017

You've found your dream home Ė at least, you initially thought you discovered your ideal house. But following the home inspection, you're starting to have second thoughts about whether you want to purchase a particular residence.

A home inspection is a valuable opportunity for a homebuyer. It enables a buyer to receive expert insights from a property inspector about a house's age and condition. Thus, if a home inspection reveals myriad problems with a residence, a homebuyer still has an opportunity to walk away from a home sale.

Ultimately, there are many factors for a homebuyer to evaluate after a home inspection, including:

1. The Home's Condition

When it comes to evaluating a home's condition, there may be more than meets the eye. Fortunately, a home inspection enables a property inspector to take a deep look at a house's interior and exterior and provide detailed findings.

If a home's condition fails to match your expectations, don't hesitate to walk away from a home sale. By doing so, you can reenter the housing market and begin your search for the perfect residence once again.

On the other hand, if a home's condition is not a deal-breaker, feel free to move forward with a home sale. And in a short period of time, you'll likely soon be the owner of a great house.

2. The Home's Age

A home's age may dictate whether substantial home repairs or improvements may be needed down the line.

For example, a home's furnace usually needs to be replaced every 10 to 15 years. If a 30-year-old residence still has its original furnace in place, this device may need to be replaced sooner rather than later.

A home inspection should provide clear-cut insights into potential home improvements that you may need to perform in the near future. Use these insights to your advantage, as they may help you if you try to renegotiate the price of a house.

3. Long-Term Home Improvements

Spend plenty of time with a home inspector and don't hesitate to ask this professional plenty of questions. Remember, he or she is available to help you make an informed homebuying decision. And if you learn about potential long-term home improvements now, you may be able to avoid severe home problems down the line.

If a home inspector discovers roof problems or other substantial house issues, take his or her recommendations seriously. That way, you can avoid the danger of buying a "money pit," i.e. a house that may prove to be more trouble than it's worth.

Lastly, if you need help at any point during the homebuying journey, reach out to a real estate agent. This housing market professional can put you in touch with the best home inspectors in your area and allow you to minimize stress throughout the homebuying cycle.

Ready to make your homeownership dreams come true? Consider the aforementioned factors after a home inspection, and you can move one step closer to purchasing a terrific house at a budget-friendly price.

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