A considerable number of potential buyers shy away from jumping into the real estate market due to their uncertainty about the buying process. A specific cause for concern tends to be mortgage qualification.
For many, the mortgage process can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be!
In order to qualify in today’s market, you’ll need to have saved for a down payment (73% of all buyers made a down payment of less than 20%, with many buyers putting down 3% or less), a stable income and good credit history.
Throughout the entire home buying process, you will interact with many different professionals, all of whom perform necessary roles. These professionals are also valuable resources for you.
Once you’re ready to apply, here are 5 easy steps that Freddie Mac suggests you follow:
- Find out your current credit history & score – even if you don’t have perfect credit, you may already qualify for a loan. The average FICO® Score of all closed loans in September was 724, according to Ellie Mae.
- Start gathering all your documentation – income verification (such as W-2 forms or tax returns), credit history, and assets (such as bank statements to verify your savings).
- Contact a professional – your real estate agent will be able to recommend a loan officer that can help you develop a spending plan, as well as determine how much home you can afford.
- Consult with your lender – he or she will review your income, expenses, and financial goals to determine the type and amount of mortgage you qualify for.
- Talk to your lender about pre-approval – a pre-approval letter provides an estimate of what you might be able to borrow (provided your financial status doesn’t change), and demonstrates to home sellers that you are serious about buying!
Do your research, reach out to professionals, stick to your budget, and be sure that you are ready to take on the financial responsibilities of becoming a homeowner.
There are some people who have not purchased homes yet because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.
As Entrepreneur Magazine, a premier source for small business, explained in their article, “12 Practical Steps to Getting Rich,”
“While renting on a temporary basis isn’t terrible, you should most certainly own the roof over your head if you’re serious about your finances. It won’t make you rich overnight, but by renting, you’re paying someone else’s mortgage. In effect, you’re making someone else rich.”
Christina Boyle, Senior Vice President and head of the Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management organization at Freddie Mac, explains another benefit of securing a mortgage vs. paying rent:
“With a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, you’ll have the certainty & stability of knowing what your mortgage payment will be for the next 30 years – unlike rents which will continue to rise over the next three decades.”
As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ which allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee the landlord is the person with that equity.
Interest rates are still at historic lows, making it one of the best times to secure a mortgage and make a move into your dream home. Freddie Mac’s latest report shows that rates across the country were at 3.94% last week.
Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, now may be the time to buy.
Many potential homebuyers believe that they need a 20% down payment and a 780 FICO® score to qualify to buy a home, which stops many of them from even trying! Here are some facts:
- 40% of millennials who purchased homes this year have put down less than 10%.
- 76.4% of loan applications were approved last month.
- The average credit score of approved loans was 724 in September.
In Trulia’s recent report, Rent vs. Buy: Roommate Edition, they examined the impact that renting with a roommate has in determining whether it is more expensive to rent or buy. The study explains:
“Since we started keeping track in 2012, it’s been a better deal to buy than rent in America’s largest housing markets – and for much of that time it hasn’t been close.”
It then goes on to ask the question:
“But does the equation change for renters who share their rent with a roommate?”
The report reveals:
“While the standard rent vs. buy analysis reveals buying is cheaper than renting in all of the nation’s 100 largest metros, this doesn’t hold true for those choosing between renting with a roommate and buying a starter home.”
It seems obvious that sharing the cost of renting your living space by taking in a roommate dramatically decreases your housing expense (which is exactly what the report concluded), but it got us thinking.
What if you purchased a home and took in that same roommate?
The savings you would gain by adding a roommate would also occur if you purchased a home. This presents an opportunity for a list of possible purchasers. Here are two examples:
- The first-time buyer: As the report explains, many young adults already live with a roommate. If they purchased a new home, perhaps that roommate (or someone else) would be willing to rent a room in their new house. The rent could help offset the mortgage payment.
- The empty-nester seller looking to move: Their home may no longer fit their current lifestyle. They may now be looking for something a little smaller with all the bedrooms on the ground level. These families may be able to open a bedroom to an older family member (parents, aunts & uncles, etc.). This would kill two birds with one stone.
A smaller, move-down home is almost impossible to find in the current housing market. If the seller-turned-buyer takes on a tenant, they could buy a more expensive home knowing that the additional monies needed to pay the mortgage would be offset with the additional monies they receive in rent. Secondly, the older couple (ex. parents) could get a housing option that probably far surpasses anything else available to them in the current market.
Considering the concept of renting a portion of your house to be able to purchase the perfect home may make sense to many families. You will need to decide if it is right for you.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released the results of their latest Existing Home Sales Report which revealed that sales rose 0.7% month-over-month, but remain 1.5% lower than they were a year ago. Some may look at these numbers and think that now is not a good time to sell their house, but in fact, the opposite is true.
The national slowdown in sales is directly tied to a lack of inventory available for the buyers who are out in the market looking for their dream homes! The inventory of homes for sale has fallen year-over-year for the last 28 months and has had an upward impact on home prices.
NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun had this to say,
“Home sales in recent months remain at their lowest level of the year and are unable to break through, despite considerable buyer interest in most parts of the country.
Realtors® this fall continue to say the primary impediments stifling sales growth are the same as they have been all year: not enough listings – especially at the lower end of the market – and fast-rising prices that are straining the budgets of prospective buyers.” (emphasis added)
The houses that are on the market are selling fast, too! According to NAR’s Realtors Confidence Index, the median number of days it took for a house to go from listed to under contract over the past three months was 34.
If you are one of the many homeowners who is debating listing your house for sale this year, the time is now! Let’s get together to discuss the specifics of our market!