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The type of home mortgage loan you choose can significantly impact the cost of your loan and the interest rate you pay.

Many factors influence which type of mortgage is best for you, such as your current financial situation, expected borrowing expenses, and qualifications. However, it's also important to consider your plans as well. Some types might be more suitable for a homeowner who wants to move into a new home soon or purchase another one after a few years. In short: many different combinations will suit other purposes, but it is important to understand all of them before making an informed decision.

1. Conventional Mortgages

The Conventional mortgage loan has been the most commonly chosen type of mortgage option in the past few years and is one of the most popular loans.

One major benefit of this type of loan is using different collateral. For example, as a homeowner, you have more opportunities to access a conventional mortgage than someone who isn't a homeowner.

The downside to this type is stricter qualifying requirements, such as having more borrower equity up-front or needing more income. Since this type also typically features higher rates and costs, it might not be your best choice if you're looking for affordability.

2. Conforming Mortgage Loans

Another type of loan that is quite popular is the Conforming Mortgage Loan. These mortgages have the same requirements as a conventional mortgage with added benefits such as lower interest rates and more flexible terms that can help you make choices about your plans.

One downside to this type of loan is that, in some instances, it might not be able to help you qualify for a particular loan amount and can only be used for homes valued at around $417,000 or less. Aside from this, conforming loans typically have lower down payments and higher interest rates.

3. Nonconforming Mortgage Loans

The other type of mortgage loan is the Nonconforming Mortgage Loan. These loans are similar to conforming but offer more flexibility and more substantial options. Some examples include allowing you to have less down payment relative to the property's value or allowing you to have a lower credit score.

However, these opportunities come with an added cost, and additional closing costs and fees can add up quickly. In addition, non-conforming loans also typically come with higher interest rates, so it's worth researching before deciding whether this is the best option for your current financial situation.

4. Government-Insured Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Loans

The federal housing administration (FHA) is a program through the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development that insures mortgages. With this type of mortgage loan, you'll have to pay a small upfront mortgage insurance premium but can benefit from lower closing costs and less stringent credit requirements.

Even if you have a low-down payment, these loans are available for people with a wide range of credit scores. So, if you're interested in affordability, these loans could be the answer to your home-buying woes. They also provide an additional life insurance policy allowing you to cancel your monthly payments without worrying about losing anything out of pocket.

5. Government-Insured Veterans Affairs (VA) Loans

The Veterans Affairs (VA) program is a United States federal agency that offers mortgages to service members, veterans, and certain people related to them. The primary benefit of this mortgage loan is that you could have no down payment and lower interest rates than the average mortgage loan.

On the flip side, VA loans come with strict qualifying requirements, such as having a lower debt-to-income ratio and higher credit scores. They require you to put in more money up-front but don't offer a life insurance policy as the FHA loans do.

6. Government-Insured U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Loans

A USDA loan is a guarantee by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help you receive an affordable home loan to purchase a house in rural areas or designated underserved areas. It is available to any qualified homebuyer, regardless of income and credit history, and allows you to make lower down payments.

However, there are some limitations, such as being only able to borrow up to 97% of the home's value and having higher closing costs. You'll also get a lower interest rate on these loans, but make sure that your options are best for your situation and your plans.

Is there a mortgage loan that's right for you?

No matter which mortgage loan you choose, it's important to know your options before deciding. The best way to do this is to consider your current financial situation, future borrowing or spending plans, the loan's credit score and down payment requirements, and any possible restrictions on the property that you're looking at.

If you have a low credit score or are overwhelmed by other financial obligations, then a more affordable option might be best. However, if you're getting close to retirement age or have a higher income, having fewer property value constraints might be best for your specific situation. The bottom line is that every mortgage option has its benefits, and it's worth doing your homework to see which one will work best for you.

If you're unsure which option to choose, contact us at Rose Group to answer your questions and concerns during the home-buying process.

 

The process of buying or selling a home can be very complicated, so you need to be ready for what comes next after your offer is accepted.

Home buying can be an exciting and stressful time. The process of searching for homes, making an offer, and closing on a home can take anywhere from three weeks to several months. Furthermore, getting approved for a mortgage, having inspections performed on the house, and completing all other steps can quickly feel overwhelming. Real estate transactions are complex, so it's essential to be prepared for what comes next after your offer is accepted. Once your offer is accepted, the next steps in the home buying process include:

Escrow Opening

After an offer is accepted, the first thing to do is open an escrow account. The buyer and seller sign the necessary paperwork to transfer funds to ensure that inspections, appraisals, and other items outlined in the contract are completed. While the homeowner oftentimes covers the cost of the home inspection, there may be additional fees that come with the buying process. In addition, the buyer's lender will require an appraisal to ensure that the home is worth the purchase price. The buyer should also review the title and homeowner's insurance policy at this time to make sure there are no surprises down the road. This is also a good time to review the title and home insurance policy. Be sure to ask any questions you may have about either document. Furthermore, it is important to know what the escrow company is and what they will be doing on behalf of the buyer and seller.

Mortgage Documents

The lender will need a few things in order to finalize the mortgage; among them are copies of the signed purchase agreement, title report, proof of funds, and your loan application. Be sure to have everything ready to go so that the process can move along smoothly. In addition, it's important to be aware of your credit score and what you can do to improve it if needed. Most lenders require a credit score of at least 620 to qualify for a mortgage. The sooner you can provide these documents to the lender, the sooner they can process everything and avoid any delays. This is particularly important for borrowers who are self-employed or have a less-than-perfect credit history. Moreover, many buyers choose to lock in their interest rate at this time, so the sooner you submit your loan application, the more likely you are to get the rate you want.

Home Inspection and Appraisal

Home inspection and an appraisal are two of the most critical steps in the purchase process. The home inspector will check for any major repairs that need to be made before closing, and the appraiser will ensure that the home is worth the price you agreed to pay. If there are any major repairs that need to be made, this is the time to negotiate who will pay for them. Furthermore, you don't want to buy a home that has been significantly damaged. The appraiser will point out any major repairs or other issues with the house, and it is best if you know about them before going through with the sale. A home loan is based on the value of the property, so a low appraisal could lead to your offer being rejected. This is the most challenging part of the home buying process for many buyers. In some cases, a buyer can come to an agreement with the seller that covers items such as closing costs or repairs.

Transfer of Utilities and Other Home Bills

After your offer is accepted, the next thing to do is to contact all of the utility companies and transfer services. Bills can still be sent to previous owners for a couple of days, but it's important that new homeowners take control of their utilities as soon as possible. This will reduce the chances of a power outage or any damage to appliances and fixtures during the moving process. Furthermore, if the previous owners are staying past closing, they will need to vacate by the time of possession or negotiate an extension with your realtor or lawyer. In some cases, new homeowners may have final bills from the seller's portion of the home, which may need to be negotiated in the contract. Home selling and buying is a complex process that can be overwhelming for first-time buyers. By knowing what to do next, you can ensure a smooth transaction. For more information, please consult with your realtor or lawyer.

Final Home Evaluation and Review

Now is also a good time to ask for a final home evaluation. The inspector will come back and make sure there were no additional problems, and the lender will go over closing costs and how they will be paid. These can include points, real estate commissions, loan origination fees, transfer taxes, recording fees – all things that you should be prepared for. Homebuyers should also take the time to review their closing statement. A final home evaluation ensures that everything is in order before you close on the property, and it's one of the last things you can do before becoming a new homeowner.

Purchasing a home is a huge investment, contact a licensed realtor to walk you through the process and to make sure that everything is done correctly. By following these tips, you can ensure a smooth home buying process. These are just a few of the things you need to do after your offer has been accepted. With a little bit of preparation, you'll be ready to close on your new home and start moving in.

Wondering how much house you can afford?

As a first-time homebuyer, you may be wondering how to save money on your mortgage. The best and smartest way to go is by getting pre-approved for a mortgage before you start looking at homes. If you get approved beforehand, it can save time because when selecting homes for purchase, the potential buyer will only need to see houses within their price range or loan limit. Below is more information about pre-approval and its advantages.

What is the difference between Pre-approval and Pre-qualification?

When you are first getting started with the loan application process, two steps need to be completed. The first step is pre-qualification. Pre-qualification is a rough estimation of how much money a lender is willing to give you based only on the data they have at hand. This includes your income, credit score, and debts or liabilities.

However, this information may not be complete or up to date. You can continue with the second step which is pre-approval. Pre-approval means that your lender has more access to your financial data and is willing to give you a final number on how much money they will lend you for the house purchase. This is based on the information you provide to the lender.

Advantages of Pre-approval

Disadvantages of Pre-approval

Advantages of Pre-qualification

Disadvantages of Pre-qualification

When to Request for Pre-approval?

If you were already pre-qualified with a lender and had been looking at homes from a real estate agent, it is best to request a pre-approval. It can definitely help when you're purchasing a home.

Who Avails a Pre-approval?

Almost all lenders offer this service today, but it can vary depending on which company you choose. You also have the option of applying with a broker who may find a lender who offers pre-approval with lower interest rates and fees.

How to get Pre-approval or Pre-qualification?

The very first step you need to take is to check your credit score. This can be done on a free website. If your credit score falls below the minimum threshold set by the lender, you will have to improve it before applying for a pre-approval.

If you are already meeting the floor price set by the lender, you may proceed to apply. Fill out all required paperwork honestly and completely if you want to improve your chances of being approved.

Requirements for getting Pre-approval

If you want to get pre-approval for a loan, you need to have decent credit. Many lenders will require a FICO score of 640 or higher before they can approve your request.

Also, to be considered for pre-approval, you'll need to prove that you can repay the loan that you apply for. This can include having a steady income or access to funds through another source. The lender may also ask about what your total debt is compared to how much you make monthly.

Pre-approval for a home loan can help you get the best rates, but it also requires more effort than simply applying for prequalification. You will have to prove that you are serious about purchasing by showing steady income and access to funds. This can be difficult for some people to prove, but your chances of being pre-approved increase dramatically if you do it right.

If you are looking forward to getting a loan preapproval or prequalification so that you can buy a home, reach out to us. We are a team of experienced realtors and we will give you professional advice from preapproval to moving into your new home.

 

Owning a home is a huge investment but the upkeep can be costly without a home warranty.

Homeownership has many advantages. It's key to building wealth. That's why for most people, their home is their most valuable asset and represents the majority of their net worth. But owning a home comes with some maintenance costs.

Not only does a home cost a great deal to acquire, but it also costs quite a bit to maintain. Some estimates place the ongoing yearly costs of owning a home at around 5% of its value. For the average home in the US, that works out to over $13,000 per year. There is plenty of uncertainty built into that number. For example, having a major appliance break could add thousands of dollars to that total. And there's no way to know when an unexpected expense will overwhelm your budget.

That's where home warranties come into play.

Home warranties are a popular way for homeowners to try to contain the costs of homeownership and eliminate unexpected expenses. Here's an overview of what they are, how they work, and when they're worth investing in. Let's dive in.

What is a Home Warranty?

Unlike insurance, it's a service contract designed to cover the cost of the repair or replacement of major household items. In most cases, they cover things like large kitchen appliances and the home's major systems. But home warranties aren't insurance. They only cover costs associated with the normal wear and tear of covered items. So, if, for example, your refrigerator got damaged due to flood – it wouldn't pay to replace it.

Home Warranties vs. Home Insurance

That is, in fact, the primary difference between home warranties and a homeowner's insurance policy. The former covers the costs associated with routine maintenance and care for a home's major systems, while a homeowner's insurance policy pays for unexpected damage to property in the home. It protects against losses connected to things like fires, floods, and theft. Together, the two provide comprehensive protection for both the routine and extraordinary costs associated with owning a home.

What Do Home Warranties Cover?

Although different providers offer warranty plans that cover various items in a home, there are some covered items most of them share. These include:

Major Systems

• Plumbing
• Electrical
• Heating / Ductwork
• Hot water systems

Major Appliances

• Central or split-unit air conditioning systems
• Dishwashers
• Refrigerators
• Ovens, ranges, and cooktops
• Garbage disposal units
• Garage door openers

Depending on the provider, it's often possible to add warranty coverage for other household items like:

• Roofs
• Well pumps
• Septic tanks
• Pool and spa equipment

What Don't Home Warranties Cover?

In most cases, home warranties don't cover the structural components of a home. That means they don't cover things like walls, windows, foundations, and doors. They also won't cover solar panels because they're considered a structural item.

And home warranties also won't cover commercial appliances. That means they don't cover many high-end kitchen items from major brands like Sub-Zero and Thermador. And they also don't cover duplicate items by default. That means homes with a second kitchen would need to purchase additional coverage for all of the items in it – even if they're the same items in their primary kitchen.

But even covered items are subject to certain restrictions, such as a home warranty won't cover pre-existing damage to a covered item. Every item must go through a visual and operational examination before it's eligible for coverage. At that time, a representative of the warranty provider will check for obvious damage to each item and conduct a basic test to see that it's functioning normally.

Even then, most home warranties feature a 30-day waiting period before they go into effect. That way, the company can rule out most undetectable pre-existing problems with covered items. It is designed to prevent a homeowner from purchasing a policy to cover an appliance they know is about to fail.

There are also limits to what home warranties will pay to repair or to replace covered items. Some impose limits on a per-item basis. For example, a policy might specify a maximum of $1,000 for microwave or $3,000 for an HVAC system. Others set a maximum limit that applies to all covered items, which usually represents the maximum replacement cost of the most expensive covered item.

When to Buy Home Warranty Coverage and What it Costs

In most cases, home warranties are worth purchasing for anyone buying a secondhand home. This is because it's often impossible to know the true condition of a home's major systems or if they've been put through excessive wear and tear. And because purchasing a home is a significant investment, the last thing a new homeowner would want is a string of unexpected expenses right after they move in.

For the same reason, people selling their homes might purchase coverage to convince would-be buyers that everything in the house is in reasonable working order. Doing so serves as a guarantee to the home's new owners that they're not going to end up paying for the damage done by its previous owners. In that way, homeowners' warranties make an attractive addition to a home that's listed for sale.

The costs of a home warranty are reasonable enough that either party would be well-served by purchasing a policy. The average cost comes in at between $25 and $50 per month, which works out to between $300 and $600 per year. After that, the only other cost is a reasonable service call fee between $75 and $125 when something breaks. So, the first time that a major covered appliance needs replacing, the policy will more than pay for itself.

Buyers of newly-built homes typically don't need home warranty coverage. This is because most homebuilders offer similar coverage for at least a year after a home's completion, and it comes standard with the purchase of the home. Plus, new major appliances come with their own warranties that cover major problems for a year or more after purchase. It wouldn't make sense to purchase coverage until several years into the home's existence in those cases.

The Bottom Line

Any way you look at it, home warranties are a smart way to manage some of the ongoing costs of homeownership. But they're not for everyone, and anyone buying a policy should do their homework and read all of the fine print before buying coverage. Like insurance, a home warranty can seem costly when you don't end up using it – but it can be a lifesaver when bad luck strikes and multiple appliances break in quick succession.

Get in touch with us for professional help on your real estate investment journey, call 650 550 8646.

Are you ready to buy a house?

Whether it’s an investment property, a place to move and build a family, or a space to grow old in, buying a home for the first time is a big step. It’s both a major financial and emotional decision.

A house is likely the most expensive purchase of your life, so it can be a bit overwhelming. It is totally understandable. To help you feel as prepared as possible and eliminate a lot of the stress, we’ve come up with these tips that should guide you through the home-buying process.

1. Check your financial health (savings and spending)

Do you have savings? Calculate your monthly expenses and debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, which should be at a maximum of 43%. It is essential to know where you stand in your finances to strengthen your credit score – this will determine if you qualify for a mortgage. Consider having an emergency fund for three to six months' worth of expenses. When you buy a home, there will be a down payment and closing costs.

2. Save for a down payment

Save enough money for a 20% down payment (or more). Your down payment will depend on the type of mortgage you choose and the lender’s terms. Some lenders allow as low as a 3% down payment for first-time homebuyers with excellent credit scores. Also, keep in mind that as a homeowner you will be responsible for all the maintenance and upkeep costs.

3. Make a list of your home must-haves and nice-to-haves

What does your dream house look like? Write down specific features and amenities that you need for your ideal home. You can also include the location, neighborhood, and size of the house and lot. You can make a separate list of the home features that are less important, that you can do without upon purchase. This is your first home; you deserve a house that grants most (if not all) of your wishes but be realistic.

4. Understand your home loan options

Don’t worry about not being able to pay cash for a home because there are a variety of mortgages with varying down payment and eligibility requirements:

By the way, you also have options when it comes to how long you are going to pay a home loan, anywhere from 15- to 30-years.

5. Get a mortgage pre-approval

A mortgage pre-approval determines how much house you can afford. Lenders will take into consideration your financial situation, including monthly income, DTI, and credit score. They will then provide you a statement that you are qualified to take a loan and how much a lender will give you to buy your first home. With a mortgage pre-approval, your home financing is already secured, and it shows the seller that you’re a serious buyer.

8. Attend open houses and home buying assistance programs

Your mortgage pre-approval will give you an idea of how much you can spend for your first home, which will help you narrow down your house requirements. Attend several open houses in the neighborhoods you want to live in to give you the chance to learn more about the area, its facilities, and community culture. Take advantage of home buying assistance programs from local government and realtors.

6. Submit a competitive offer

First of all, hire a trained professional to do an inspection of the property you’re interested in, so you’ll know the condition of your potential new home. This way, you can negotiate your offer with the seller, such as paying for the repairs. You can also ask them to lower the price to cover the cost of repairs. There are instances that the seller will pay some of the closing costs if the offer is right.

7. Work with a real estate agent

An excellent real estate agent knows the ins and outs of the market, finds you homes that match your criteria, and guides you through the entire process. Communicate with your agent regularly. Your home-buying journey will be a lot easier when you’re working with a real estate professional.

 

Always remember...

 

9. Stick to your budget (factor in the closing costs)

Don’t go over budget. As a first-time homebuyer, it is natural to get excited shopping for a perfect house that ticks everything in your checklist, forgetting what you can truly afford. Have enough money for repairs and renovations.

Remember to consider closing costs in your budget. These fees pay for important steps in the home-buying process, including:

10. Save Physical Copies of Your Paperwork

Keep the physical copy of your mortgage statements, deed, Closing Disclosure, vendor and supplier receipts, property insurance policy, and other important real estate records. Compile them all together for easier access and lock them in a fireproof cabinet, if possible.

Now back to the first question, are you ready to buy a house? Tap a highly rated real estate agent nearest you; contact us today!

 

Rose Group, with Keller Williams Realty, is comprised of licensed REALTORS® and a dynamic support staff. We’ve focused on providing trusted, expert representation to real estate buyers and sellers in Silicon Valley since 2004—and now we’re in San Diego!
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