RE/MAX Advantage I



Posted by RE/MAX Advantage I on 2/20/2020

Photo by Paul Brennan via Pixabay

If you’ve been renting and preparing to buy a new home, you’ve probably saved up your down payment and are in the process of getting pre-approved for your mortgage loan. If, on the other hand, you’ve been living in a home you own and paying on your mortgage, you may be ready to buy, but only if you can use the equity in your existing property. Logically, that would mean you have to sell your home first, which pays off your existing mortgage, then live somewhere temporarily while you shop for your new home. However, you have more options, and none of them require you to live in a third location.

Option 1: Contingent Purchase

Ask your real estate agent for in-depth information on contingent purchases in your area, since different cities and states can have conflicting rules. This means making an offer on a new home that is “contingent” on your accepting an offer on your current home. Basically, you will do the buying and selling parts of your real estate plan at the same time. While your agent is looking for new homes, they are also showing your home to buyers. You can use the same agent for both parts of the process, which is often cheaper, or you can use a buyers’ agent for the purchase and a sellers’ agent for the sale, which may help you get better deals. Not all sellers are willing to entertain contingent offers since that can put a crimp in their own moving plans, so make sure your agent is aware of your circumstances from the beginning.

Option 2: HELOC Loan

Home equity line of credit or HELOC is a particular type of home loan. These loans are usually second mortgages of some sort but allow you to withdraw the entire amount within a given time period. This means you can keep your current home, and use the HELOC loan to buy your new home. Then, when your current home sells, pay off the mortgage on that home, and get a new mortgage on your new home to pay of the HELOC loan as well. This can be risky, however, since HELOC loans are based on the equity value of your current home, which may not be as high as the market value. In addition, they can have variable interest rates, which, if your old home ends up not selling for an extended period of time, can really start to drain your savings. If you plan to go with this option, make sure your real estate agent knows the timelines you’re working with, and try to find an agent with a “sellers’ guarantee.”

Option 3: Contingent or Rent-Back Sale

A contingent sale is similar to a contingent purchase, but instead of closing relying on you finding a buyer, it relies on you finding a new home and that offer being accepted. These tend to be shorter-term agreements, such as 1 to 2 weeks, but can be longer, even up to several months, depending on your buyer. Be careful and try to have contingencies on only one side of your purchase, since if you end up with too many chained together (you are on contingency, as are your buyers, and their buyers and so on) if one person’s plan doesn’t work, the whole chain could fall through. Alternatively, if your buyer has a longer moving timeline, they might be interested in setting up a “rent-back” agreement. This allows you to sell your home and then rent it back from the new buyers for either a specific time period or for as long as it takes for you to find a new home. This is especially a good idea if your buyers are currently renters on a month-to-month agreement since both of you can move whenever is needed.

If you’re ready to buy a new home, but are worried about selling your current one first in order to afford it, you are not alone. Make sure you explain your situation to your real estate agent during your very first meeting. Once they know what kind of agreements will work for you, they can do a much better job of finding your dream home and helping you complete the purchase.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by RE/MAX Advantage I on 2/13/2020

Closing costs are usually an unavoidable part of buying a home. While there are ways to reduce some closing costs and fees, they are an expense you will likely have to consider when it comes time to save for a home.

On average, buyers can expect to pay between 2 and 5 percent of the purchase price in closing costs and fees.

In this article, we’re going to break down those costs and talk about some ways to plan for, or limit, the fees associated with closing on a home.

A breakdown of closing costs

Most closing costs in a real estate transaction are paid for by the buyer. When getting approved for a mortgage, your lender is required to provide you with an estimate of the closing costs. This is called a “Closing Disclosure statement” which overviews the details of your loan.

Different lenders will charge varying amounts in fees. Some are even willing to waive certain fees. But, we’ll discuss that later.

For now, let’s focus on the closing costs buyers typically have to pay:

  • Attorney fees - a flat-fee or hourly rate depending on the attorney

  • Origination fees - an upfront fee charged by the lender for processing your mortgage application

  • Prepaid interest or discount points - a payment for the interest that will accrue on your mortgage from the time you close until your first mortgage payment is due

  • Home inspection fee - the fee that a professional home inspector charges to inspect a home

  • Escrow deposits - Usually split with the seller, this is the fee charged by an escrow agent

  • Recording fees - fees for legally recording the new deed and mortgage

  • Underwriting fees - fees paid to the lender for researching your mortgage case and determining whether or not to approve your application

These are just some of the many fees that can be due upon closing on a home. Depending on where you live, which lender you choose, and the type of mortgage you secure, your closing costs will vary, so it’s a good idea to shop around for a lender and mortgage type with reasonable closing costs.

Reducing closing costs

Some lenders offer no-cost, or low-cost mortgages. However, these savings often come with a higher interest rate which, over the lifespan of your loan, can cost you more in the long run.

You should also be aware of the different loan types that you may be eligible for. FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans are all designed for buyers hoping to make lower down payments on their home.

Each loan type provides different amounts due at closing. Fortunately, your mortgage lender will be able to give you an estimate of costs for each loan type.

Want to get an estimate of the closing costs you’ll have to pay when you buy a home? You can use this online calculator to see an average.




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Posted by RE/MAX Advantage I on 2/6/2020

Looking to put together an offer on a house? Ultimately, you'll want to submit a competitive first offer. By doing so, you can speed up the process of acquiring your dream residence.

When it comes to submitting a competitive home offer, however, it is important to understand what differentiates a "fair" proposal from a subpar one.

To better understand how to submit a competitive proposal, let's take a look at three best practices that every homebuyer needs to consider before making an offer on a house.

1. Evaluate the Housing Market

If you plan to buy a house, you'll want to examine the real estate market closely. That way, you can identify housing market patterns and trends and plan accordingly.

For example, if you find there is an abundance of high-quality houses available, you may be entering a buyer's market. In this market, there likely is a shortage of homebuyers, which means a competitive offer at or near a home seller's asking price is sure to grab this individual's attention.

On the other hand, if you notice that homes are selling quickly in a city or town, you may need to prepare for a seller's market. If you pursue houses in a seller's market, you may need to act quickly due to the sheer volume of buyers competing for the same residences.

Clearly, a comprehensive housing market analysis can make a world of difference for homebuyers. With in-depth housing market insights at your disposal, you'll be better equipped than other buyers to submit a competitive first offer on any residence, regardless of the current real estate market's conditions.

2. Get Your Finances in Order

What good is a competitive home offer if you cannot afford to buy a residence? If you secure a home loan, you can narrow your home search to properties that you can afford. Then, you'll be able to submit a competitive offer that ensures you won't have to break your budget to purchase your dream residence.

Also, if you're unsure about how your financial situation will impact your ability to buy a house, you should consult with banks and credit unions in your area. These financial institutions can help you get pre-approved for a home loan, establish a homebuying budget and much more.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to submitting a competitive home offer, it pays to receive expert homebuying support. Fortunately, you can hire a real estate agent who is happy to help you put together a competitive home offer.

A real estate agent can provide housing market data that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. Plus, this housing market professional can offer unbiased home offer recommendations to ensure you can get an instant "Yes" from a home seller.

Collaborating with a real estate agent is a great option for homebuyers in all cities and towns. Reach out to local real estate agents today, and you can get the help you need to submit a competitive offer on any residence.




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Posted by RE/MAX Advantage I on 1/30/2020

Selling your home may seem like a relatively simple process. You hire an agent, let them take pictures and show the house to prospective buyers, accept an offer, and then close… right?

In reality, there’s a lot that goes into the selling process; especially if you want to have a smooth home sale.

Matters are further complicated by hr fact that most sellers are also in the process of buying, closing, and moving into their new home.

To make the most of your time in the weeks or months leading up to your sale, I’ve put together a list of tips that you can use to get ahead of the curve, making your sale as problem-free and simple as possible.

Set deadlines

One of the most important lessons homeowners learn when they sell their first home is how quickly moving day creeps up on them. Make a list of all of the things you need to do before you hand over the keys, and set dates and reminders in your calendar for those tasks.

You can do this if you’re in the beginning stages of finding out when you want to sell by, or if you’re in the final stages of packing and moving your belongings to your new home. Regardless of where you are in the home sale process, you can always benefit from preparedness.

Find an agent

To get the ball rolling, reach out to a real estate agent sooner rather than later. They’ve been through this process several times before and will be able to give you advice that is catered to your specific situation.

Make sure your home is ready for sale

We all love our homes and value the time and effort we put into them. But, to get top dollar for your home and ensure a smooth sale, you’ll probably need to do some work.

This can include getting an inspection to ensure that the vital components of your home are working properly. Knowing this now can save you time and headaches if a buyer’s inspector finds an issue with your home that you weren’t aware of.

Similarly, you’ll want to make your home move-in ready by making small repairs, putting a fresh coat of paint, and cleaning up the exterior of the home.

Do your research when setting a price

Setting the price of a home is not a road you want to take shortcuts on. Research prices for comparable homes in your area, consider recent repairs you made, and value the home at what you think is a fair price.

However, don’t get too attached to one number and be prepared to adapt based on the offers you receive.

Have a moving day plan

Planning for moving day could be its own separate blog post. You’ll want to start packing things you don’t need early on in the process. Then, make arrangements for young children or pets, so that you can focus on the move rather than keeping track of everyone else.




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Posted by RE/MAX Advantage I on 1/23/2020

Everyone defines the term "quality of life" differently, but if you asked 100 people, you'd probably hear a lot of similar answers.

According to a Gallup study entitled "The State of American Well-Being," the  basis for a good quality of life includes having a sense of purpose, feeling good about what you do every day, having supportive relationships, being motivated to achieve your goals, being able to effectively manage your finances, having the energy and health to pursue your interests, and sharing a sense of community pride. Feeling safe and liking where you live were also key ingredients in the formula for a high quality of life .

The Gallup/Sharecare report focuses on several aspects of community life, such as the role local governments play in offering amenities and resources to citizens. The study concluded that "communities that invest in active living, including bike paths, parks, walkability and public transit, have residents with better health and well-being outcomes."

While factors such as the quality of school districts and low crime rates are often foremost in the minds of house hunters, there's also a lot to be said for communities that offer public recreational facilities, educational programs, cultural events, and services that promote health, safety, and a clean environment.

Advantages that can help make one community more desirable and family friendly than another can range from free outdoor concerts and public tennis courts to the availability of farmers' markets and clean, updated playgrounds. Other features which can positively impact the quality of life in a community include well-maintained roads and bridges, the availability of dog parks, community parades, and programs to encourage the proper disposal of drugs, electronics, household chemicals, and recyclable products.

At the neighborhood level, quality of life is often measured by factors like noise, the condition of nearby properties, the overall safety and security of the area, and the amount of street traffic. Clean air, mature trees, and friendly neighbors can also contribute to a wholesome living environment that can be enjoyed for generations.

While there are many advantages to designing your own home or buying new construction, one might need to make short-term sacrifices when it comes to things like noise, neighborhood aesthetics, and other temporary inconveniences. Your real estate agent or home builder can probably fill you in on things like construction timetables and project completion dates.

If you're in the market for a new home, it's always a good idea to clarify in your own mind what you and your family needs to feel comfortable, happy, and secure. Creating a priority list of needs, desires, and preferences not only helps you stay focused in your real estate search, but also increases the probability that you'll be satisfied with your new home on a long-term basis.







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