RE/MAX Town & Country



Posted by Debra & John Blanchet on 10/17/2018

A home inspection represents a key stage during the homebuying journey. This inspection enables you to examine a house with a professional property inspector. And if you discover minor or major property issues, you can ask a seller to perform repairs. Or, you may choose to reduce your initial home offer or rescind your proposal.

Ultimately, it pays to be diligent during a home inspection. If you perform an in-depth assessment of a house, you can understand whether this residence is the right choice.

On the other hand, there may be property problems that you identify during a home inspection that you won't ask a seller to repair. These issues may include:

1. Cosmetic Problems

If you ask a home seller to perform cosmetic repairs, the seller may choose to walk away from your homebuying proposal. And if this happens, you could lose your dream house to a rival homebuyer.

There is no need to jeopardize a home sale due to a cracked floor tile, a deck that needs to be stained or other cosmetic problems. Instead, plan to perform cosmetic repairs on your own.

In addition, keep in mind that many cosmetic issues are quick and easy to fix and won't require you to break your budget. This means you likely will have no trouble completing myriad cosmetic repairs after you close on a home.

2. Loose Fixtures

A loose doorknob or light fixture can be frustrating. And as you walk through a house during an inspection, you may feel like repairing a loose fixture is a top priority.

Loose fixtures generally require simple hand tools to repair, and problems with these fixtures frequently can be solved in just minutes. As such, you may want to focus your attention on bigger and potentially more expensive home repairs as you determine which property repair requests to submit to a seller.

Of course, if a loose fixture creates a safety hazard, you should not hesitate to ask the seller to fix this problem. Because if a hazardous fixture remains in place, it may put your health and safety at risk.

3.Non-Functional Light Switch

A non-functional light switch may raise red flags as you inspect a house. But in many instances, this problem is minor.

If you notice a non-functional light switch during a home inspection, there usually is no need to worry. In fact, a property inspector typically can tell you whether a home's electrical system is safe to use and up to code.

For homebuyers who are uncertain about how to proceed with a residence following an inspection, it pays to consult with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can offer expert tips to help you make informed decisions at each stage of the homebuying journey.

Consider your potential property repair requests following a home inspection. By doing so, you can prioritize major property repairs and increase the likelihood that you and the seller can find common ground as you work toward finalizing a purchase agreement.




Categories: Buying a Home   home repair  


Posted by Debra & John Blanchet on 10/10/2018

If youíre hoping to buy your first home in the near future, youíre likely wondering about the different types of mortgages that you may qualify for. Since the 1930s, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has been insuring home loans for first-time homeowners across America.

This program helps people achieve homeownership who typically wouldnít be able to afford the down payment or pass the credit score requirements to secure a traditional mortgage.

In todayís post, weíre going to answer some frequently asked questions about FHA loans to help you decide if this is the best option for your first home.

Does the FHA issue loans?

Although theyíre called ďFHA loans,Ē mortgages are not actually issued by the FHA. Rather, theyíre issued by mortgage lenders across the country and insured by the FHA.

Will I have to make a down payment?

With an FHA loan, your down payment can be as low as 3.5%, significantly lower than traditional loans at 20% down payment. However, you will be required to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) in addition to your monthly mortgage payments until you have paid off 20% of the home. So, the best case scenario would be to save as much as possible for a down payment to reduce the amount of mortgage insurance you have to pay.

What are the benefits of an FHA loan?

The three main reasons to secure an FHA loan are:

  • You can qualify with a low credit score

  • You can make a smaller down payment than traditional mortgages

  • Your closer costs will be less expensive

Where do I apply for an FHA loan?

You can apply for an FHA loan through a mortgage lender. You can also work with a mortgage broker to help choose a lender.

Is an FHA loan the only loan option for low down payments?

There are multiple loan programs offered at the state and federal level to help individuals secure a mortgage with a lower down payment. They can be provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the USDA, or state-sponsored programs. Lenders also often sponsor their own programs to attract potential borrowers. However, always make sure you compare these programs to make sure youíre making the best long-term financial decision.

Do all FHA loans offer the same interest rates and costs?

No. Since the loans are only insured by the FHA, itís up to the lender to determine your interest rate and fees. So, itís a good idea to shop around for the best lender.

How high does my credit score have to be to qualify for an FHA loan?

You can secure a mortgage with a down payment as low as 3.5% with a credit score of 580 or higher. However, if you can afford to make a larger down payment, you can secure an FHA loan with a credit score as low as 500.

If your score is in the 500-600 range, itís typically a better idea to spend a few months building credit before applying for a home loan.

What information will I need to apply?

Youíll need to gather all of the same information that you would for a typical mortgage. This includes W2s from your employer(s), two years of submitted tax forms, your current and former addresses from the past two years, and your gross monthly salary.

Iíve owned a house before, can I still qualify for FHA loans?

Even if youíre not a first-time homebuyer you can still qualify for an FHA loan. However, you cannot qualify if youíve had a foreclosure within the last three years or have filed for bankruptcy within the last two years.




Categories: mortgage   Buying a Home   FHA Loans  


Posted by Debra & John Blanchet on 10/3/2018

Purchasing a home should be fun, memorable process. However, many homebuyers struggle with fears as they embark on the process of acquiring their dream homes.

Some of the most common homebuying fears include:

1. I will pay too much for a house.

Overspending on a house is a common fear among homebuyers nationwide.

If you pay too much for a house, you may struggle to afford the monthly payments for the duration of your mortgage. Perhaps even worse, your house may lose value over time. And if you eventually decide to sell your home, you may be forced to accept less than what you initially paid for it.

Ultimately, an informed homebuyer will understand the differences between a buyer's market and a seller's one. He or she will be able to determine whether a home is affordably priced and proceed accordingly.

An informed homebuyer also will know the importance of getting pre-approved for a mortgage. With a mortgage in hand, this homebuyer will understand exactly how much that he or she can spend on a house.

2. I'll wait too long to submit an offer on a residence.

If a homebuyer is uncertain about buying a particular house and waits too long to submit an offer, he or she risks missing out on this residence altogether.

Fortunately, there is a simple way to avoid this problem.

A homebuyer who knows what he or she wants to find in a dream home can narrow a home search. Then, if the homebuyer discovers a home that matches or exceeds his or her expectations, this individual can submit an offer right away.

Don't forget to submit a competitive offer, i.e. one that accounts for the needs of both a homebuyer and home seller, as well. A competitive offer will stand out from other proposals and increase a property buyer's chances of securing his or her dream residence.

3. I'll buy a home that will fail to maintain its long-term value.

What you pay for a home today is unlikely to remain the same over the course of several weeks, months or years. But a homebuyer who employs an expert home inspector can learn about a house's strengths and weaknesses and ensure a property is a viable long-term investment.

A home inspector will conduct an assessment of a house after a property seller accepts a buyer's proposal. At this point, an inspector will examine a house's interior and exterior and identify any potential issues. Lastly, a home inspector will issue a report with his or her findings, and a homebuyer will have a final opportunity to modify or rescind an offer on a house.

For homebuyers, it is important to work with a trusted home inspector Ė you'll be glad you did. This home inspector will go above and beyond the call of duty to evaluate a house before you finalize a home purchase.

Working with an experienced real estate agent may benefit a homebuyer too. With a top-notch real estate agent at your side, you can get the support you need to acquire a first-rate home that will maintain its value both now and in the future.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  


Posted by Debra & John Blanchet on 9/5/2018

If a seller is motivated and your offer is the only one that comes in on a home for sale, you may have an easy time getting the home of your dreams. If there are multiple offers on a property, itís a different story. 


If thereís competition, itís simple math that your odds in favor of you getting the home are reduced. You need something that will grab the sellerís attention. Writing an offer letter can be just what you need to sway the decision in your direction. Even if your offer is less than what other people have put on the table, an offer letter is a perfect way to get the attention of the seller.


What To Include


You may wonder what you should include in an offer letter. Youíre charming the sellers in a way, but also giving them an opportunity to get to know you. If someone has lived in a home that they have loved for a long time, theyíll be happier knowing the next occupants will be just as happy living on the property.


What Do You Like About The Property?


You should include a lot of positive things involving the property and your ability to care for and maintain it. Tell the seller about the features you most love about the house. You should let the seller know that they hard work they have done over the years has paid off and you appreciate it. Do you like the skylights? Does a remodeled kitchen get your attention? Is the deck a great feature for you to entertain on? Let the seller know any and everything that enticed you to put an offer on the property in the first place. 


Share Some Of Your Life


You donít have to get overly personal or mushy, but you should include a bit about yourself and why you chose this property among the many you have seen. Maybe you grew up in the neighborhood. Maybe the home is perfect for your expanding family. Whatever the reason is for you to want this particular house you need to let the seller know. 


In addition to personal details, you can include a pre-qualification letter, demonstrating your ability to afford the home. This helps sellers to feel comfortable with your financial background and continued upkeep of the property.  



What Not To Include


While your plans for a property may be grandiose in your mind, donít tell a seller what you plan to do with the proeprty in your offer letter. Itís nice that you want to update the kitchen, or re-do the bathrooms. Itís an insult of sorts to the seller so just omit these items. Keep your offer letter positive and brief and you may be well on your way to securing the property of your dreams.       




Tags: offer letter  


Posted by Debra & John Blanchet on 8/29/2018

With closing day rapidly approaching, you're almost to the finish line of your home purchase. However, before you complete your home purchase, you will need to conduct a final walk-through of the property.

Ultimately, a final walk-through offers a valuable opportunity to identify any last-minute problems with a residence. If you encounter any issues during a final walk-through, you can ensure that the seller can correct these problems prior to a home closing.

Preparing for a final walk-through is key. Lucky for you, we're here to help you get ready for a final walk-through so that you can complete a successful home purchase.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prep for a final walk-through.

1. Avoid a Closing Day Walk-Through

When it comes to a final walk-through, it pays to be cautious. Thus, you should give yourself plenty of time to set up a final walk-through. This will allow you to avoid the dangers associated with finding home problems on the same day as a house closing.

Try to schedule your final walk-through at least a few days before you close on a residence. That way, if you discover problems with a house, you can ask the seller to respond to these issues and reduce the risk of a home closing delay.

2. Keep an Eye Out for the Seller's Leftover Belongings

A final walk-through gives you an opportunity to view a house that is virtually empty. But if you find that a seller has left behind various belongings, you should not hesitate to ask the seller to remove his or her possessions.

Furthermore, a home seller should leave a house in "broom-swept" condition; this means a home's walls, floors and other surfaces should be dust- and dirt-free. If you find trash and other debris in a home, you can ask the seller to clean the property.

3. Be Ready to Test All Appliances

A homebuyer may acquire a refrigerator, washer, dryer and other appliances as part of a home purchase. These items often are expensive to replace, and as such, you'll want to make sure they work properly during a final walk-through.

If an appliance does not perform as required, you have the right to request that the seller repair or replace the appliance. Or, you may be able to receive financial compensation for the defective appliance.

When it comes to prepping for a final walk-through, there is no reason to work alone. Fortunately, if you collaborate with an expert real estate agent, you can receive plenty of support in the days leading up to a home closing.

In addition to providing homebuying assistance, a top-notch real estate agent is happy to attend a final walk-through. By doing so, this housing market professional can help you identify any potential home problems and resolve such issues as quickly as possible.

Plan ahead for a final walk-through, and you can avoid the risk of discovering assorted home problems after you close on a residence.







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