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Soon You May Be Able to Buy a Home with as Little as a 3-5% Down Payment

October 30, 2014

down payment on a houseUnfortunately, many otherwise qualified prospective home buyers these days believe they aren’t ready to take out a mortgage because they don’t have the 15-20% down payment saved up that they think is required to make them eligible to purchase a home. In fact, as many as 50% of Americans actually hold to this misconceived notion.

Perhaps the origin of this misinformation rests in the fact that last year, the government was considering adopting new guidelines for residential mortgages to insure that the housing collapse of 2007 wouldn’t happen again. At the time, those in support of taking such measures were actually arguing for as much as a 20-30% down payment on ALL mortgage loans.

The important thing to realize is that while those standards were debated, they were never actually implemented. As a result, people today can qualify for a mortgage with as little as 5% down payment.

Soon, the mandatory down payment percentage may be even lower, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) who just this month announced that mortgages requiring you to put down only 3% may soon be available.

Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt recently announced a number of steps the FHFA is considering that are aimed at increasing mortgage credit availability. He supports the return of the 97% loan-to-value product at the GSEs, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Read more…

You’re Not in the Home-Buying Process Alone

October 23, 2014

prospective homebuyersThese days, it can be easy to get intimidated about the home-buying process – from qualifying for a mortgage to knowing which house is right for you.

Rather than making it easier, the plethora of information available online about both houses on the market and financing options instead confuses would-be purchasers even more.

A recent survey by Discover Home Loans found that 63% of today’s prospective buyers find themselves overwhelmed by the sheer amount of mortgage information available.

While 94% believe they are making a good investment by purchasing a home and 87% are confident they will find an affordable home loan, the poll shows many have not done the math to determine their costs. Despite feeling financially prepared when entering the process, many homebuyers don’t know what purchasing a home will actually cost them.

Here is some other interesting data about the prospective homebuyers who were surveyed: Read more…

Why Autumn May Be the Perfect Time to Sell Your House

October 16, 2014

selling your home in autumnMost people associate spring and summer with being the busy time for listing and selling houses. That’s exactly why right now might be a strategic time to put your home on the market – because MOST PEOPLE aren’t!

Yes, it’s true that the kids are back in school and the holidays are right around the corner, but demand from buyers is consistently strong, and with inventory still historically low, this could be a prime opportunity to get your home noticed.

Believe it or not, the latest reports show that foot traffic numbers (people actually out physically looking at homes) are higher than at any other time over the last 12 months, including the spring buyers’ market. There are a lot of prospective buyers who are ready, willing, and able to buy. By putting your house on the market now, you’ll stand out to them before holiday craziness and bad weather become distractions.

Because housing inventory is still below the 6-month supply, that means in many markets, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy buyer demand. That’s good news if you’re trying to sell your house, as it means you have less competition and can also increase your asking price. But inventory will be growing in the near future, as new construction of single-family homes begins to increase and as more homeowners see a return to positive equity through rising real estate prices.

Another good reason to sell in the fall is that the process will take place more quickly. During 2014, many buyers and sellers were frustrated by the lengthy period of time between contract and closing. With banks requiring more paperwork than ever while approving a mortgage, delays have been inevitable – and only increase during the winter holiday season. Getting your home listed and sold over the next couple of months will expedite the process and bring about closing that much faster. Read more…

Financial Expert Dave Ramsey: Work with a Realtor When Selling Your Home

October 9, 2014

Sometimes prospective Sellers consider doing a FSBO (For Sale By Owner), thinking they’ll save money on the Realtor commission.

On the surface, it may sound like that’s true. But in the video above, financial guru Dave Ramsey explains why he strongly believes in the importance of working with a Realtor when selling your home.

He brings up points you may not have thought about, such as the fact that you may only sell a handful of homes in your lifetime, whereas a Realtor often sells 30-50 homes a year. That means you’ll likely make many more mistakes on your own in the transaction process, negotiating the contract, or determining the actual market value of the home than you would if you were using a Realtor. Read more…

How Well Do You Understand Your True Credit Score?

October 2, 2014

FICO scoreTrue or false: The free credit scores that you can get online are valid in the eyes of mortgage lenders? FALSE!

Prospective homeowners shopping online prior to reaching out to a Realtor or mortgage loan officer often consult websites to find the best interest rate and calculate potential monthly mortgage payments.

The problem is, the free credit score on which they’re basing their ability to qualify for a loan is not the same figure a mortgage lender will look at when they decide whether to give you a mortgage. Imagine how you’d feel if you finally found your dream house, only to be told by the bank that you don’t qualify to get that amazing interest rate they’re offering because your credit score is too low?

It’s best to go into your house-buying venture with realistic expectations to avoid disappointing “surprises” like these. To start with, understand that your FICO Score is more important than any consumer score. Here are the various credit scoring products available to consumers today:

  • FICO credit score from Fair Isaac Corporation/, range 300 to 850
  • Plus Score from Experian, range 320 to 830
  • Trans Risk Score from TransUnion, range 300 to 850
  • Equifax Credit Score from Equifax, range 300 to 850
  • Vantage Score from all three bureaus, two ranges: 300 to 850 and 501-990

Read more…

Americans Believe Real Estate is Headed in the Right Direction

September 25, 2014

Each year since 2001, Gallup has asked Americans to rate 24 different business sectors and industries on a five-point scale ranging from “very positive” to “very negative.” The net ratings are the difference between the positive and negative ratings for each industry, reflecting Americans’ overall attitudes toward each industry.

The most recent Gallup poll from this past August showed that, for the first time since 2006, Americans have a positive view of real estate and believe it is moving in the right direction at last.

According to the Gallup results, “Americans’ views of the banking industry are positive for the first time since 2007, at a net positive rating of 8. The public also has an improved view of the real estate industry (12), marking the first time Americans’ image of this industry has been positive since 2006. Net positive views of banking increased 18 points from 2013, while opinions of real estate rose 11 points.

Gallup poll results

Read more…

Average Interest Rates & Mortgage Payments Through the Decades

September 18, 2014

mortgage rate history

It’s understandable when prospective buyers get fearful about the thought of mortgage rates increasing in coming months. But let’s put this in perspective.

Yes, it’s true that mortgage rates hit their low almost two years ago. We likely won’t see rates down below 4% again anytime soon. But historically speaking, even a 5 or 6% mortgage rate is low compared to what we’ve seen in recent decades. Read more…


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