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Articles Tagged "home buying budget"

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January
9

A Checklist for First Time Homebuyers

Buying your first home comes with a wave of exciting emotions but can feel just as scary diving into the new world of home ownership. Purchasing a home is the American dream, and you should feel proud of your accomplishments! With this being one of the largest investments you'll make in life, it's worth going into the process knowing what is required. The award-winning real estate agents at Choice Properties have created a checklist for first time homebuyers, ensuring your set and ready to start house hunting!

Check Your Credit Score and Credit Report

The first task you should check off your list is checking your credit score. This is the number mortgage lenders will refer to when determining your loan approval or amount. If your credit score isn't where you want it to be, keep working on improvement! Having a good credit score will save you money down the road, as a higher credit score means a lower interest rate. While you are reviewing your credit report, be sure to double check for any blemishes or mistakes. Credit errors are more common than you think, and reviewing your report ahead of time allows you to contact the credit bureau to correct any mistakes.

Calculate a Budget

After ensuring your credit is in the clear, you can now calculate how much you can afford when buying a house. Consider using a mortgage calculator to determine your monthly mortgage payment, which allows you to adjust depending on the size of your down payment, the type of mortgage, and interest rates.

Shop For a Mortgage Lender

Just as you shouldn't buy the first car you test drive, you also shouldn't accept the first loan offer by a mortgage lender. Different mortgage agencies will offer a wide variety of rates and programs, so it's best to shop around to find one that matches your preference.

Find a Trusted Real Estate Agent

Although you think you may be able to tackle the home buying process alone, there are small details that go into making sure you find the best home at the best deal. Finding a trusted real estate agent ensures you are negotiating the appropriate price while not missing out on new postings. Working with a buying agent who immerses themself in the market allows you to rest easy with minimal stress. At Choice Properties, our expert agents make our customers a top priority, promising to work hard until we find the home of your dreams.

Visit Open Houses

While your real estate agent is finding you a home that matches your wishlist, it is also encouraged to browse open houses in the meantime. Browsing the internet for online listings is great, but viewing the properties in person is even better. Take advantage of open houses during weekends, mapping out times and directions to plan a full productive day. Taking photos and notes at each house helps you keep your thoughts clear and precise.




Choice Properties understands your needs and desires when it comes to the home search. We are here to help you define what you want, seek the best property and move forward feeling educated and able to make good decisions throughout the process. You can trust us to help you navigate it with the best real estate agents working for you. Call us to get started on your dream home search today.

September
5

An Overview of the Mortgage Loan Process

Through the various steps of purchasing a home, the getting qualified for a loan may feel the most overwhelming for first-time homebuyers. The expert agents at Choice Properties understand this and are here to guide you through, which is why we created an overview of the mortgage loan process. From getting an assessment to a loan officer pre-approving you, we want you to enjoy every moment of making your dream home a reality.

Pre-Approval

The first step to obtaining a mortgage loan is go through a meeting with your lender to discuss credit score and credit history with a third party, called a tri-merge credit report. This will give you an estimate of how much money you can borrow based on financial information, such as your employment and income. Mortgage pre-approvals show sellers that you are serious with a home purchase, making you stand out among other interested buyers.

Pre-Qualified

During your research for a mortgage loan you may find pre-approval and pre-qualified, but it's important to know the difference. A pre-qualification holds a lesser meaning and is a simple glance at a borrower's credit and capacity to repay a mortgage. This is usually completed by a loan officer asking the borrower simple questions regarding credit and there is no third party involved. Although this step is good to have with your lender, it usually does not influence a seller or real estate agent.

Final Approval

This is the most excited step of the mortgage loan process! Closing on a loan means the mortgage is official and final disbursements are made. During the final approval, documents are drawn where they are then sent to the title company where the closing takes place. You have a three day window to view the terms of the loan before officially signing. Once the documents have been signed, you are then ready for move into a new home!

 

 

Choice Properties understands your needs and desires when it comes to the home search. We are here to help you define what you want, seek the best property and move forward feeling educated and able to make good decisions throughout the process. You can trust us to help you navigate it with the best real estate agents working for you. Call us to get started on your dream home search today.

June
13

How Does Your Credit Card Debt Affect Your Mortgage Rate?

Credit card debt is a common discussion in today's age and, when handled responsibly, can be a great way to boost your credit score when applying for a mortgage. Although a little credit card debt can do wonders, having too much can hurt your chances of obtaining a mortgage loan. Most Americans set a goal of buying a home, making it important to keep credit card debt under control. If you find yourself asking, "How does your credit card debt affect your mortgage rate?", then stay tuned to hear our expert realtors of Choice Properties explain the potential outcomes.  

Having High Credit Card Balance

If you have a high credit card balance, be prepared to show proof of available funds used to pay off the balance. If you lack the funds you could be subject to a higher interest rate on your loan. Having a strong credit history with monthly payments will help show your financial security, preventing a rise in interest rate. It is important to remember most lenders check credit in the final stages of your loan approval. You do not want to risk running up your credit card debt before closing, even if you are approved for a favorable loan rate as this could delay closing.

Having Zero Credit

When applying for loans with a history of zero credit, you may be asking yourself what options are available. Although the mortgage loan process is different, there are ways to secure a loan with no credit score. Applying for a government loan, or FHA loan, requires more paperwork as you must show you have paid rent or bills in the past. These typically come with a larger down payment. A second option is to have a co-signer, preferably someone with a history of good credit. If you prefer to avoid both of these methods, we suggest taking 6 months or more to build credit.

By lowering your credit debt or even paying it off, you are lowering your interest rate on a mortgage loan. Controlling unnecessary spendings and maintaining a strong monthly payment will set you on the right track of a good mortgage rate. Once you are ready to go, the realtors at Choice Properties will be waiting to help find the home of your dreams!




Choice Properties understands your needs and desires when it comes to the home search. We are here to help you define what you want, seek the best property and move forward feeling educated and able to make good decisions throughout the process. You can trust us to help you navigate it with the best real estate agents working for you. Call us to get started on your dream home search today.

August
25

 

 

Buyers and sellers in the housing market have many fees to consider when purchasing and selling a home. One of the costs, closing fees, can be confusing to understand who pays for the fee. Learn more about closing costs when buying or selling a property.

 

Buyer Costs

Closing fees can be present for both buyers and sellers. Typically, the buyer is faced with more line-item expenses than the seller (who typically pay more). Most buyers are getting loans to make the purchase of a home and many charges stem from the loan itself. A buyer should receive something called a loan estimate form early on in the sale process. The document spells out all approximate costs a buyer will face when making the purchase of a home so there are no surprises at closing. Some buyers may use the information on the loan estimate to shop for different lenders, interest rates and costs.

 

Buyers getting a loan will see some of the following costs:

  • Appraisal fee

  • Origination fee

  • Prepaid interest

  • Prepaid insurance

  • Flood certification fee

  • Tax servicing fee

  • Credit report fee

  • Bank processing fee

  • Recording fee

  • Notary fee

  • Title insurance

 

It is prudent to go through all listed fees line by line with the mortgage professional to understand what the fees include and how they apply to the loan. Aside from expenses of getting a loan or buying a home, some expenses (such as property taxes or HOA fees) are pro-rated and paid at the time of closing. If an individual is buying a home and closes toward the end of the property tax period, it is likely the person will need to pay the balance of taxes upfront. This also includes prepaid loan interest. If a person closes toward the end of the month, the lender may ask for first month's payment up front.

 

Negotiate Sharing Costs

Part of the negotiation on a home sale can include asking the seller to pick up some of the closing costs as part of the negotiation. Credit for $5,000 reduction in purchase price can save a fair bit of money in the closing costs up front, even if it only saves a little bit monthly over the life of the loan.

 

Sellers Commission

The seller will usually bear the biggest brunt of fees: the real estate commission. Commission is based on a percentage of total sale price. In addition to real estate commission, sellers may have to pay the balance of property taxes, if it has not already been done, as well as any prorated homeowners association dues.

 

It can pay big dividends to pay attention to closing costs so as not to get charged fees which can be negotiated or lowered. Any real estate agent will be happy to work with individuals and families on home closing paperwork to provide the most for overall satisfaction.

 

 


 

Feeling lost in the home buying or home selling process?

Let our certified, award-winning Real Estate Agents help you get the best deal!

March
30

Finding the perfect home can take some time but the market is growing and sale prices are still low. Doing research is key prior to  finding Indian Lake Ohio homes for sale which suit the family's needs. Follow these tips to find a home that's a good fit.

 

Take the Long View

Search for a home that will be in the family at least five to seven years (ideally). Time, effort and expense are considerations when moving including closing costs. Staying in a home longer helps avoid added expense and stress. The extra time put into the home, as well as any work completed within the home, can help add value long term and avoid any downturns in the real estate market.

 

Growth

Family's needs change over time whether it's additions (babies, returning older children). Seek out properties with potential for growth and provide room for expansion. Houses for sale in Indian Lake, Ohio are a perfect example of properties which offer lots of room to grow at an affordable price.

 

Flexibility

Homes with lots of options usually suit a family's needs better than ones which are less flexible. A home that is functional for years to come with an open floor plan style can be adapted to changes while a kitchen with a view of a living area is great for keeping an eye on young kids as well as entertaining family and friends.

 

Find a Suitable Type

To find the perfect home requires knowing what best suits one's personal style. Homes are not one size fits all. There are many styles including condos, houses, townhomes. A person who does not want the responsibility of upkeep for a home may want a townhome versus a single family residential house. Likewise, a family who would like a vacation style home in a resort community with amenities may prefer to search for houses for sale in Indian Lake, Ohio which has many great features of a small community with access to waterfront dining, activities year round and plenty of suitable properties for families of shapes and sizes.

 

Location

A home's location is one of the most important aspects of buying real estate. Families who desire a quiet neighborhood in which to raise kids may not be looking for homes near a busy street or in the middle of an urban city environment. While that may suit a single person or couple, once children arrive, many families seek the peace, tranquility and safety of a suburban neighborhood which offers community, friendly neighbors and access to great schools while still being near to an entertainment district and work. A home's location with a spectacular view also attracts friends and family to come visit which is many families choose houses for sale on a lake or by water.


Choice Properties has agents ready to help you find the perfect home by the lake.                                                                  Contact us today at 937-842-2244 to set up an appointment!

 

Get more advice on finding the perfect Indian Lake home for your budget.

Contact one of our agents today.

March
10

One of the reasons people search for investment property in Ohio is to gain financial freedom. Financial independence is possible with an investment property if a person knows how to go about finding the right home and the ins and outs of putting money into an additional place. There are many benefits to purchasing such an investment in Ohio, especially Indian Lake, as prices are low and demand is going up for homes by the water. To increase cash flow, an investment property can be leased or rented out and eventually sold for profit. The appeal of injecting cash into a property which can build equity and profit later is possible. Follow these steps to   get started.

 

Establish a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)

An LLC is a private limited company which is a designated business structure. This is ideal for smaller businesses because it limits and shield's an entrepreneur's personal liability risk by the enterprise's liabilities. Any individual who uses an LLC does so to protect their rights as business owner against legal issues.

 

Find a Good, Reputable Real Estate Agent

A good real estate agent can find out immediately if a property will be a worthwhile investment. They will know the area and market values to help make the best choice. When a property is selected, cash will need to be available on hand for a 20% deposit. A good lender is key to help process the loans in a timely fashion. Choice Properties has excellent trained, qualified real estate agents available to help in the selection of an investment property in Indian Lake, Ohio and beyond.

 

Property Rehab

Homes are prone to wear and tear and investment properties are no exception. As years go by, a property will need upkeep as it may not be well taken care of by tenants. Damage is an inevitable part of owning a home so keeping a fund available for leaky roofs, new heating units and more is a consideration.

 

Contracts

Be selective when choosing renters for a property. Rent arrangements need to be covered in a contract. Failure to outline this in a written agreement may result in difficulties later if the need to evict a tenant arises or if other issues come up.

 

Patience

Patience is important when searching for investment property in Ohio. Indian Lake is an area with lots to offer but it will take time to locate the best property. It is time consuming to search for contractors and good renters. Taking time now will save a headache later so be patient, take time and do it right from the start.

 

Business First

Do not let renters get away with anything. After all, an investment is part of one's financial portfolio which can affect the quality of life. It is better to kick out a poor tenant for non payment or other issues than let the issue linger and risk losing money.

 

Choice Properties has agents ready to speak with you about investment properties in Indian Lake, Ohio.                                      Don't wait, call today at 937-842-2244 to discuss the options and get started!

 

Get more advice on steps it takes to own an investment property.

Contact one of our agents today.

February
9

So You're Looking for Cheap Waterfront Property

Waterfront investment properties require special consideration to ensure the property will suit the lifestyle and provide activities everyone can enjoy. Start with these tips when looking to purchase cheap waterfront property.

 

Determine Your Needs

When potential homeowners research waterfront investment properties, the first step is to discern how the property will be used. From this point, a realtor can help figure out which area best suits these needs and desires to focus in on specific properties. Some strategies to get started include:

 

  • Learn about real estate. Get books, take a class or two and do research. Ask lots of questions, talk to friends, family and other relatives to learn as much as possible about investing in waterfront property.

  • Commit to the process. It takes time to research, find and purchase that perfect property. Some will fall through or not be a good match but know what to look for and what needs exist to know the right property when it comes available.

  • Have a strategy. Focus on achievable goals and know what the property is intended for. If it will be a rental for part of the year and vacation home for the rest, this may determine which property is ultimately selected.

 

Frequency of Use

When searching for cheap waterfront property, it is important to look at the activities available, nearby hospitals for any medical needs which should arise, proximity to an airport if frequent travel is important and finding the best property to suit the family's needs and budget. Knowing how often the property will be used can determine suitable options.

 

The Search

Location is key when searching for waterfront investment properties. After determining best fit for needs in a waterfront home, visiting the area to find a good fit is important. The surrounding community is an important factor when making a decision. Look over the property as well as the house as the real value of the home will be the property in a waterfront location. Look for five key points when searching for that perfect property:

  • Sandy beach. Proximity and quality is important for both younger and older family members.

  • View. As people age and do less on the water activities, the view becomes more important.

  • Level lot. The flatter the lot, the better for easier water access

  • Proximity to water. Homes closer to the water allow a closeness to nature and keeping an eye on any young kids by the water.

  • Privacy. Some lakefront properties have as little as 50 feet of frontage, which offer very little privacy. Ideally, a property will offer 150-200 feet to give privacy from neighbors.

 

Choice Properties has real estate agents who specialize in waterfront investment properties in the Indian Lakes area to assist with your needs and sort through complex issues to get everyone on the right track to finding that perfect location.

 

Get more advice on finding and owning an affordable waterfont property.

Contact one of our agents today.

January
27

Find Incredible Properties All Over the Indian Lake Ohio Map

Indian Lake boasts 5,800 acres of lakes and 800 acres of parks featuring year-round recreation. Camping, boating, swimming, fishing, hiking and more are on offer including many unique restaurants and dining opportunities. Antique stores, marinas, golf courses and other amenities make this area the jewel of Ohio. Whatever a person is looking for, incredible properties exist all over the Indian Lake Ohio map.

 

Logan County

Logan County is located in western Ohio. Rich with natural beauty, it is also steeped in history as American Indians called Logan County home. What started with small villages throughout the county, areas began to grow such as Bellefontaine which became the county seat. Campbell's Hill is the highest point in Ohio with the first concrete street in America, built in 1891. Several natural caves dot the landscape including two open to the public: Ohio Caverns and Zane Caverns. Two castles are open for tours, owned by the Piatt family located in the Mad River Valley near West Liberty, Ohio.

 

Neighborhoods

 

Russells Point

Russells Point is situated with an amazing view of Indian Lake. Waterfront views are an enticing feature of living in this neighborhood. Along with local restaurants, bars and other amenities, properties in the area include waterfront locations with a boat dock as well as spectacular water views of the Indian Lake area. Many available properties take advantage of the lake view with beautiful windows overlooking the water and decks for entertaining guests. The neighborhood is friendly, inviting and caters to a wide range of people who enjoy the water.

 

Lakeview

Lakeview is one of the most spectacular areas to live within the Indian Lake Ohio region. Many homes boast waterfront and lake views as well as personal boat docks. Great schools, neighbors and amenities surround this neighborhood. Fishing and other water activities can be enjoyed from the vicinity of home. Sprawling properties with acreage are available as well as smaller homes. It all depends on the individual's needs and desires.

 

Finding the right property in the Indian Lake Ohio map is a challenge with so many beautiful locations from which to choose. From newer developments to rustic, historic villages the area boasts many opportunities to select a home with features that best fit an individual's budget and desires. The region is historically significant but also hosts many tourists and visitors who enhance economic development and build on the tradition of Indian Lake as a destination for all people. When searching for property in the Indian Lake area, the options are truly endless. Enjoy the waterfront dining options, golf courses, camping, hiking and biking or take a day out on the lake. The choice is yours to make when you choose Indian Lake as the place to reside and call home.

 

Get more advice on finding the best property for you.

Contact one of our agents today.

January
6

The Key to Buying Waterfront Property

Purchasing a home is a complicated process from pre-approval to the last signature. Buying 'waterfront' property throws another layer of complexity into the process. Real estate agents who work with waterfront properties on a regular basis understand the process backwards and forwards. Finding an experienced agent can really make the process take less time when they know what an individual is looking for and will tailor the search to those specific properties. These tips will give an idea of what to expect when doing research on buying waterfront property.

 

Tips

Find a real estate agent who specializes in waterfront properties. A general agent will not have detailed knowledge of waterfront properties in the area to find the best deals on available properties.

 

Property over structure. People may fall in love with a house only to realize the view is not great, the water is murky, it is difficult to get to the water or the place has less privacy than desired.

 

Consider property to fit lifestyle. A beautiful property half an hour away from the water may not suit everyone. If being close to water is desirable, start the process with this in mind before entering negotiation.

 

Check for structural issues due to weather. Waterfront homes are more susceptible to the elements than an average home. Investment in weatherproofing can help avoid some of these concerns.

 

Research insurance requirements. Review this early to be sure what is necessary before buying. Waterfront homes may require several policies.

 

Find out what changes can be made. If a new dock or other change is desired, research local government policies. Some may be more strict than others. Before committing, understand the financial and legal ramifications might be. Also look into what activities are allowed on the water as some may have restrictions on motorized watercraft including jet skis and speedboats.

 

Meet the neighbors. Speak with people who live nearby and knew the previous owners. Seek insider information about living in the community, any issues with the property or waterfront-related concerns.

 

Get to know responsibilities as an owner. When buying waterfront property, find out what upkeep and maintenance of the property is required by any homeowners associations (if applicable). Review conditions, covenants, restrictions or CC&Rs in addition to speaking with the HOA management company.

 

Getting Started

With helpful tips in hand, it is time to start the process of buying waterfront property. An agent who specializes in waterfront homes should be able to provide useful insights into the home and location but it is up to the individual buyer to learn as much as possible prior to contacting an agent for assistance. A real estate agent may not know all the ins and outs (as the neighbors might) or may not include information helpful to a particular homeowner's search. Making a list of what is important will be helpful when seeking that next property to buy on the water and will make for a more satisfied customer come time to sign the papers.

 

Get more advice on buying waterfront properties.

Contact one of our agents today.

October
6

 

Whether you are looking to buy or sell a home in Central Ohio, you'll need to know your market, i.e. your 'comps'. Comps are the homes in the area where you are transacting business that are comparable, meaning they are in the same neighborhood, are similar in size, layout, and condition, and have similar features or extras (like pools, fireplaces, or even neighborhood playgrounds).

These comps are used when determining pricing. From the buyer's standpoint, knowing the market gives them a place to start with a fair offer, while from the seller's viewpoint, comps help them to figure the best price point for the property. A good real estate agent stays on top of their local market, making sure to understand the ins and outs of what makes a property comparable.

 

Location, location, location . . .

When pricing or valuing a home, the first thing you want to do is look at what's nearby. Stay within the neighborhood to ensure things like the age of the homes and the community features are similar. School zones make good measures of parameters.

 

No time like the present . . .

Keep your eye on the pending sales. The initial bargaining has taken place between the buyer and seller, so these are, in effect, a plethora of current data for the market—including the latest 'dollar per square foot' average. A good rule of thumb is to look at sales within the last three months, but not more than six months old, as trends could've changed drastically in that time.

 

Show me the extras . . .

With the where and when pinned down, now you can look at the fun stuff, the property features. The main thing to compare here are the number of bedrooms/bathrooms and the lot size. Narrow those down, and then you can get into the smaller extras. Views, updated appliances, flooring materials, pools, garages, fireplaces . . . the list can get rather long, but these are the creature comforts that are going to help you turn your purchase into an Indian Lake Home (or sell your property to the highest bidder).

 

Don't overanalyze or stress . . .

While it is a good idea to have some knowledge of how the market works, there are professionals available to help you navigate the world of home buying and selling. Choice Properties has trustworthy agents to assist with the petty details of each comparable Logan County home. We make it our job to know the market so that you can make Indian Lake, Bellefontaine, or the surrounding areas your home.

September
7

Making the decision to buy a home in Central Ohio doesn't have to be daunting or intimidating. With a little understanding of how the mortgage process works, you'll be a proud bellefontaine homeowner in no time.

A pre-check of your finances is highly suggested to give you a starting point. Knowing what you can realistically afford, even in the case of a financial emergency, can save you heartache down the road. You don't want to bite off a mortgage that is bigger than you can chew. Knowing your limits will also narrow your property searches down and help you stay on target. Online calculators are available to help you determine affordability:

 

Affordability Calculator

(estimates an affordable purchase price based on your income and available down payment)

 

Payment Calculator

(estimates monthly mortgage payment based on purchase price, insurance, and tax rates)

 

Now that you have an idea of what you can afford, it's time to start the mortgage process by speaking with a lender. Getting your home loan underway will result in you having qualifying documentation when you reach out to a realtor and start looking at actual homes—and should you find "the one," it'll be great to have no delays in closing the deal because of bank issues.

 

Information you will be asked to provide to the lender (with documentation):

 

  • Personal — Date of birth, marital status, number of children and their ages, and social security number (to pull your credit report).

  • Last Two Years (minimum) of Residential History — Rental or mortgage, insurance, and tax figures.

  • Proof of Employment and Income — Wages, bonuses, or commissions and employment history for at least two years back. Be prepared to show completed tax returns. Mortgage lenders will average variable and self-employed income over two years.

  • Assets — Even if your down payment comes from one account, ALL checking, savings, investments, and retirement accounts will have to be recorded and verified. Keep in mind that if you're fortunate enough to have funds being gifted to you, there are special rules which apply. Speak to your lender.

  • Debts — Full disclosure of payments and balances owed on all credit cards, student loans, auto loans, existing mortgages, and any alimony or child support requirements.

  • Identify your preferred loan type and available down payment.

 

With this information your lender will be able to create a personal profile and recommend loans commensurate with your individual budget. Everyone is different and therefore multiple loan and rate tiers exist. Your lender will be like your personal guidance counselor as you go through this process. Your existence is at their disposal, on paper at least, and so they can use their expertise to suggest what will likely be the best path for you to follow. Whether it be a short term investment property with plans to turn around and sell, or settling in with a 30 year mortgage on a family home.

 

Our Choice Properites Real Estate agents are knowledgeable and willing to meet with you and your lender so that the fun part can start . . . home shopping! In the crazy days that will come in the whirlwind process of home buying you can expect the following to happen:

  1. Upon finding "the one," your agent will write up an offer of what you're willing to pay for the property and present it to the seller; if accepted, then your loan process will move to the final approval phase.

  2. Your lender will lock the interest rate on your loan (this can't be done without an acceptance as it is determinate upon buyer/seller price agreement).

  3. Depending how much time has elapsed since financials were initially gathered and verified, your lender may request updated documentation from you; your lender will also order an appraisal on the property and review the property title report at this stage.

 

When all I's are dotted and T's are crossed, the final loan documents will be drawn up and your closing will be scheduled. Once the papers are signed and the loan is funded, the keys will be placed in your hand.

 

Congratulations and enjoy your new Logan County home!

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