Three Reasons Why Pre-Approval Is the First Step in the 2020 Homebuying Journey

Three Reasons Why Pre-Approval Is the First Step in the 2020 Homebuying Journey | MyKCM

When the number of buyers in the housing market outnumbers the number of homes for sale, it’s called a “seller’s market.” The advantage tips toward the seller as low inventory heats up the competition among those searching for a place to call their own. This can create multiple offer scenarios and bidding wars, making it tough for buyers to land their dream homes – unless they stand out from the crowd. Here are three reasons why pre-approval should be your first step in the homebuying process.

1. Gain a Competitive Advantage

Low inventory, like we have today, means homebuyers need every advantage they can get to make a strong impression and close the deal. One of the best ways to get one step ahead of other buyers is to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you make an offer. For one, it shows the sellers you’re serious about buying a home, which is always a plus in your corner.

2. Accelerate the Homebuying Process

Pre-approval can also speed up the homebuying process, so you can move faster when you’re ready to make an offer. In a competitive arena like we have today, being ready to put your best foot forward when the time comes may be the leg-up you need to cross the finish line first and land the home of your dreams.

3. Know What You Can Borrow and Afford

Here’s the other thing: if you’re pre-approved, you also have a better sense of your budget, what you can afford, and ultimately how much you’re eligible to borrow for your mortgage. This way, you’re less apt to fall in love with a home that may be out of your reach.

Freddie Mac sets out the advantages of pre-approval in the My Home section of their website:

“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”

Local real estate professionals also have relationships with lenders who can help you through this process, so partnering with a trusted advisor will be key for that introduction. Once you select a lender, you’ll need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.”

Freddie Mac also describes the ‘4 Cs’ that help determine the amount you’ll be qualified to borrow:

  1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  2. Capital or Cash Reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  3. Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
  4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

While there are still many additional steps you’ll need to take in the homebuying process, it’s clear why pre-approval is always the best place to begin. It’s your chance to gain the competitive edge you may need if you’re serious about owning a home.

Looking for a reputable local lender to get your pre-approval started? Call, text, email or PM me today! 

Dani

Taking the Fear Out of the Mortgage Process

Taking the Fear Out of the Mortgage Process | MyKCM

A considerable number of potential buyers shy away from the real estate market because they’re uncertain about the buying process – particularly when it comes to qualifying for a mortgage.

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 a down payment (the average down payment on all loans last year was 5%, with many buyers putting down 3% or less), a stable income, and a good credit history.

Once you’re ready to apply, here are 5 easy steps Freddie Mac suggests to follow:

  1. Find out your current credit history and credit score– Even if you don’t have perfect credit, you may already qualify for a loan. The average FICO Score® for all closed loans in September was 737, according to Ellie Mae.
  2. Start gathering all of your documentation– This includes income verification (such as W-2 forms or tax returns), credit history, and assets (such as bank statements to verify your savings).
  3. Contact a professional– Your real estate agent will be able to recommend a loan officer who can help you develop a spending plan, as well as help you determine how much home you can afford.
  4. Consult with your lender– He or she will review your income, expenses, and financial goals in order to determine the type and amount of mortgage you qualify for.
  5. 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’re serious about buying.

Bottom Line

Do your research, reach out to professionals, stick to your budget, and be sure you’re ready to take on the financial responsibilities of becoming a homeowner.

Ready to start looking for a new home? Begin your search at https://nexthomevictors.realgeeks.com/dani-hallsell/ .  Have a real estate related question? Call, text or email me; I answer questions for free!

Dani

Things to Avoid After Applying for a Mortgage

Things to Avoid After Applying for a Mortgage | MyKCM

Congratulations! You’ve found a home to buy and have applied for a mortgage! You’re undoubtedly excited about the opportunity to decorate your new home, but before you make any large purchases, move your money around, or make any big-time life changes, consult your loan officer – someone who will be able to tell you how your decisions will impact your home loan.

Below is a list of Things You Shouldn’t Do After Applying for a Mortgage. Some may seem obvious, but some may not.

1. Don’t Change Jobs or the Way You Are Paid at Your Job. Your loan officer must be able to track the source and amount of your annual income. If possible, you’ll want to avoid changing from salary to commission or becoming self-employed during this time as well.

2. Don’t Deposit Cash into Your Bank Accounts. Lenders need to source your money, and cash is not really traceable. Before you deposit any amount of cash into your accounts, discuss the proper way to document your transactions with your loan officer.

3. Don’t Make Any Large Purchases Like a New Car or Furniture for Your New Home. New debt comes with it, including new monthly obligations. New obligations create new qualifications. People with new debt have higher debt to income ratios…higher ratios make for riskier loans…and sometimes qualified borrowers no longer qualify.

4. Don’t Co-Sign Other Loans for Anyone. When you co-sign, you are obligated. As we mentioned, with that obligation comes higher ratios as well. Even if you swear you will not be the one making the payments, your lender will have to count the payments against you.

5. Don’t Change Bank Accounts. Remember, lenders need to source and track assets. That task is significantly easier when there is consistency among your accounts. Before you even transfer any money, talk to your loan officer.

6. Don’t Apply for New Credit. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new credit card or a new car. When you have your credit report run by organizations in multiple financial channels (mortgage, credit card, auto, etc.), your FICO® score will be affected. Lower credit scores can determine your interest rate and maybe even your eligibility for approval.

7. Don’t Close Any Credit Accounts. Many clients erroneously believe that having less available credit makes them less risky and more likely to be approved. Wrong. A major component of your score is your length and depth of credit history (as opposed to just your payment history) and your total usage of credit as a percentage of available credit. Closing accounts has a negative impact on both of those determinants in your score.

Bottom Line

Any blip in income, assets, or credit should be reviewed and executed in a way that ensures your home loan can still be approved. The best advice is to fully disclose and discuss your plans with your loan officer before you do anything financial in nature. They are there to guide you through the process.

Are you thinking about buying a home? Download my free Buyers Guide, “Things to consider when buying a home”. And start you home search at mynexthome.com.

Dani

Streamlining the Lending Process

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If you are starting a search for a new home, most likely you will need to get a home loan. The process might seem overwhelming if you have not obtained a loan in a long time, even more so for first time home buyers. The lending process does not need to be difficult, and by being prepared, you can streamline the process and ensure you can get the best loan for your needs.

  1. Choose a Lender: The first step is to find a lender. You might start at your bank or credit union. Another good source for referrals is your REALTOR®, family, and friends. The lender should have access to a variety of programs as well as the government options; VA and FHA programs.
  2. Be Prepared: Before you meet with the lender, gather the information you will need. Generally, you will need to provide current pay stubs, W2s, bank account statements, and the last two years of your tax returns. If you are divorced and, or, have child support obligations, bring the final court document with you as well.
  3. Understand Your Limits: Typically, you will be able to borrow up to 31% of your gross monthly income. Also, the lender will require that you have no more than total monthly debt of 36% of your gross income. Be prepared to disclose all your debt, even if it does not appear on your credit report. Your loan officer is your advocate and there to help you succeed.
  4. Please Don’t Make Any Credit Changes: Once you have started the loan process, it is critical that you make no changes to your credit. Postpone any big purchase, do not apply for new credit of any kind and do not pay off any credit cards. It’s also important not to change jobs during the approval process, even if it’s for more money. Before you do anything, talk to your lender.

Getting a home loan is not as difficult as it was a few years ago, but it is essential to plan early and do the right things. Once you decide to buy a home, speak to a lender immediately and then follow their advice, and you will find the loan process simple to manage.

Ready to buy and/or sell a home? Call, text or email me! If you are active on social media, please look me up on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram using the icons on the bottom right of this page.
Dani

How to Lower Closing Costs when Buying a Home

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Closing costs help facilitate the sale of a home and both buyers and sellers pitch in. Some closing costs can be paid before the home is officially sold and others are paid at the end of the transaction. However, closing costs aren’t set into stone and they can be negotiable. You can ask your real estate agent or lender with help in estimating your actual closing costs.  Look over everything to make sure all the numbers are right and then you plan accordingly in how you are going to lower the costs.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Loyalty Programs – Some banks offer assistance to buyers when they use them to help pay for the purchase. It is a way for a bank to reward loyal customers.

Closing at the End of the Month – Schedule your closing at the end of the month so you don’t have to pay the per diem interest for so many days.

Get Multiple Quotes – Get estimates from different lenders because you are looking for the best package of closing costs and interest rates. There might be something better out there.

Junk Fees – There may be some fees a lender charges that may be negotiable, such as origination fee, processing fee, or application fee. Make sure to ask if what you are being quoted is the best they can offer.

Title Costs – Sometimes title insurance and settlement are bundled together. You may be able to find a title and settlement company that is less expensive.

Negotiate with the Seller – You can try to negotiate with the seller in paying for some of your closing costs. Buyers can ask for credit or to cover lender expenses during the offer and negotiation process.

Ready to buy and/or sell a home? Call, text or email me! If you are active on social media, please look me up on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram using the icons on the bottom right of this page.
Dani

What are Contingencies in a Real Estate Contract?

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Contingencies are commonplace in contracts of all kinds. A contingency allows for one party or another to legally back out of a contract in the event of some specific condition occurring. They are protection against the unknown.

In real estate, there can be contingencies inserted for either buyer or seller or both. These take many different forms, and until removed in writing, either party may change their minds based on the result of the contingent event or issue.

Here are some examples of home buyer contingencies:

  • Home inspections – May identify the need for major repairs or builder oversights that a buyer is not prepared to take on
  • Specialty inspections – Mold, geological, roof inspections
  • Code Violations – An investigation into improvements made without permits
  • Lender Appraisal – Ensures the offered price is not too high
  • Sale of Current Home – Allows the buyer to back out if they cannot sell their current home in a specific time frame
  • Final Loan Approval – Loan is ready for signature and close
  • HOA CC&Rs – Review of documents to ensure rules and regulations do not infringe on the enjoyment of the property
  • Insurability – Home owner’s insurance available at a reasonable rate

Home sellers can also have contingencies included, such as one which states the sale is contingent on finding a replacement home. If the conditions of the contingency clause are not met, the contract becomes null and void, and one party can back out without legal consequences.

Contingencies are a fact of contract law, and in real estate, they ensure that buyers and sellers know their roles and obligations. Because time is of the essence, each contingency has a specific deadline. Be sure to pay close attention to these deadlines to avoid negative and costly effects on the real estate transaction.

Ready to start looking for Your NextHome? Send me a message using the box to the right, or call, text or email me! If you are active on social media, please look me up on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram using the icons on the bottom right of this page.

Dani

Mortgage Pre-Qualification, Pre-Approval and Down Payment

There is plenty of real estate terms used in transactions. Needless to say, it can be confusing for both buyers and sellers trying to navigate the course, and the home loan process might feel overwhelming and difficult to understand. Faced with terms like “Pre-Qualification” and “Pre-Approval” that are often (and mistakenly) used interchangeably, it’s no wonder they find themselves wondering how to proceed. So here is the skinny on the two mortgage “Pre’s”…

Pre-Qualification

The first step in obtaining a home loan is to meet with a lender and discuss your financial situation. The lender will inquire about income, job stability, debt and credit (see example online form here at my preferred lenders site) . Once they have performed a basic review of the qualifications and run credit, they will issue a Pre-Qualification Letter to you, the potential buyer. This letter will identify the maximum sales price, down payment requirement and basic terms of the loan, such as interest rate.

The Pre-Qualification letter is used to provide evidence that the buyer has been reviewed by a lender who is couching for their ability to obtain a loan.

Pre-Approval

A Pre-Approval is quite different. In this case, the lender collects all the necessary information and proof of eligibility and has it reviewed by the lender underwriter for approval. A Pre-Approval letter is almost like shopping with cash, the only remaining piece of the puzzle is the property they are buying.

Down Payment: How much do you need?bank-loan-concept-2-1057032-1279x852

Gone are the days when anyone could buy a home with just a promise and a signature (thank goodness!). The “No Documentation” loans allowed virtually anyone to buy a house with no money down, with just a simple credit check. After the mortgage meltdown, this all changed as lenders tightened guidelines and down payments were once again required.

How much down payment do you actually need? The answer might surprise you; there are many ways to buy a home with less than 20% down payment. Let’s take a look at four economical loan options.

  • 0% Down – There are still two loan programs which allow you to buy a home for no money down; the VA loan and the USDA loan. The VA loan requires the borrower to be a qualified service person or veteran and the USDA loan is for certain areas under the Department of Agriculture (surprisingly, the areas in Michigan include suburban areas, not just rural).
  • 5% Down – Conventional loans with loan limits can allow you to buy a home with as little as 5% down. These loans do have Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) which can be eliminated when the loan amount falls below the 20% threshold.
  • 3.5% Down – FHA offers first time home buyers a good home loan for only 3.5% down payment. Again, these loans have a limit and PMI but offer a faster entry into the housing market.

If you’re considering buying a new home, talk to a reputable local lender. I am always happy to share my preferred lender information, simply send me a message using the question box to the right.