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September
25

Buying a home is the American dream that many families hold. We all know it's never cheap to purchase a home, and may take a couple years to save for an appropriate downpayment. But, how much should you save for a downpayment on a home? Typically, it is suggested you save 5% of your maximum budget. Meaning, if your budget for purchasing a home is $180,000, you should save $9,000 for a down payment. With the right tips and tricks, you will be able to save up for a down payment in no time. Try these tips on saving money for a down payment, turning your dream of purchasing a home into a reality! 

Develop a Savings Plan

Taking time to create a savings plan will help you stay organized on spending habits, along with developing a timeline. If you are looking to move in two years, calculate how much you need to save each month to have a 5% down payment you're seeking. In order to make a savings plan, you will need to carefully comb through your weekly and monthly spending to figure out the amount you are able to save in a certain timeframe. Some things to include when making your monthly budget include:

  • Gas expenses
  • Grocery shopping 
  • Rent/monthly housing payment
  • Car Payments/insurance 
  • Utility bills
  • Emergency funds 
  • Miscellaneous expenses 

Avoid Mindless Spending

Along with making a savings plan, make a note to avoid mindless spending. Once you start to manage your spending habits, you will quickly notice the amount you spend without even realizing it. Doing so could easily save you a couple hundred dollars a month. 

Take Your Time

Buying a new home is exciting, and it can be hard to not rush the process. Perhaps you are ready for this next step in life. However, it's important to remember not to get ahead of yourself. Take your time with the homebuying process, and be sure to not bite off more than you can chew. When you are ready to start the home buying process, contact the expert real estate agents at Choice Properties! Whether you are a first time homebuyer or experienced in the process, our team is eager to assist. 



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
2

Generally, real estate is often a smart and rewarding investment option. It is a great way to produce an ongoing income and can be a smart investment if the property value increases over the years. However, buying an apartment complex, restaurant, or piece of land may become expensive. It's important to be sure you are financially stable to start investing in real estate, and consider the ongoing maintenance costs as well as gaps between tenants. So, should you invest in real estate? Here are some tips to see if it's the right path for you:

Pay Investments in Cash

Most financial experts advise against taking out a loan for an investment project, which should be taken into consideration before investing in a piece of real estate. If you do take out a loan, it's suggested you're able to afford the monthly payment without relying on renters income. Keep in mind, there can be a high turnover with renters as there may be gaps in time where there are no renters on the property. This may become more of a financial burden if you are not able to afford the mortgage without renters, which could negatively impact your credit and create financial issues in the long run. Paying in cash eliminates these worries. 

Plan Out Expenses

When purchasing real estate, whether for personal or investment reasons, it's always smart to plan out your expenses. Consider the cost of taxes, maintenance repairs, utilities, and building upkeep. When planning expenses, estimate the cost you will be asking for your rental property so that fees and other expenses are covered. 

Research the Property

When investing in real estate that you plan on selling down the road, it's crucial to thoroughly research the property. Look into development plans or new roads that are being expected to be built to ensure it does not impact the property value. Also take time to research nearby neighborhoods for market value, if the area is up-and-coming, and other external factors. 

Investing in real estate is an appealing idea to many! With the proper planning and steps taken, it can be done well and successfully. If you are interested in starting the steps to investing in property, contact a Choice Properties real estate agent today!




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.

February
27

Real Estate Buyer FAQs

Homeownership is a common goal shared by many in the United States. Buying a home may be one of the biggest investments we make in life and is a rewarding accomplishment! Although many share the dream of owning a home, it's common for most people to be scared about following through the process. This is due to the homebuying process feeling intimidating or overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be! Working with the right real estate agent will make the process go smooth and easy. The expert agents at Choice Properties have answered your real estate buyer questions to help put your mind at ease.

Am I ready to be a homeowner?

The first step from taking the leap from being a renter to a homeowner is viewing your current financial status. Start by taking a financial inventory of your lifestyle, debts, and assets. Lenders look for those who hold a strong financial status and reliable job, as a mortgage loan must be paid on time. Another factor to consider is your credit score. Maintaining a good credit score will help you get the best loan and interest rate.

Is renting or buying a home better?

While renting and buying both have pros and cons, it simply comes down to what a person wants when buying a house. Many look at this opportunity as an investment and take pride in homeownership. This allows you to build equity with monthly payments, while also qualifying for tax incentives to help offset new homeowner expenses.

What do I look for in a new home?

When starting your home search, start by gathering your thoughts by creating lists. Identifying what you are seeking in a home, whether it's more space or a large backyard. This will help set expectations within your home search. Ask yourself if the home you are interested in is large enough to fit your needs now and in the future.

How do I get a mortgage loan?

Before setting up appointments to tour homes, it's best to shop for a mortgage rate to understand your budget. In the pre-qualification phase, you are given an estimate of what you can borrow based on your financial status. To be pre-approved for a mortgage loan means a lender has agreed to offer you a specific amount.




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.

July
23

 

What's the Difference Between a Fixed Rate and an Adjustable Mortgage Rate?

Taking on a new journey of buying a home is an exciting time, but also comes with creating a budget and researching loan options. You may be asking yourself, what's the difference between a fixed rate and an adjustable mortgage rate? While the marketplace offers a wide variety of loans within these two categories, the first step when researching mortgage options is determining which of the two main loan types fit your needs.

Fixed Mortgage Rate

A fixed rate mortgage is a well-known loan option, especially for those looking to buy their first home. During this loan option, the interest rate is set for a certain amount of time, ranging from 10, 15, or 30 years. During that time, the interest rate does not change giving homeowners a state of certainty.

Adjustable Mortgage Rate

The second loan option is an adjustable mortgage rate. Unlike a fixed rate, this option means your interest rate can change periodically meaning monthly payments could go up or down. Adjustable rates typically start with a low interest, but will rise as time goes on, also rising your house payments.

One of the most difficult decisions most homebuyers will deal with is choosing between a fixed loan or adjustable loan. At Choice Properties, we understand each buyer situation is different, motivating us to ensure your home needs and desires are met.





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.

June
4

5 Ways Homeowners can Avoid Foreclosure and Rebound

Owning a home comes with the responsibility of not only maintenance, but a financial obligation to pay a mortgage. As life happens, individuals may be presented with challenges and financial stress that can result in missing a payment. If several payments have been missed without contact with the homeowner's leasing company, a foreclosure might be presented by the lender. Although this is one possible outcome of falling behind on mortgage payments, there are several ways to avoid the foreclosure process even if a homeowner cannot afford the debt. The expert realtors at Choice Properties have listed 5 ways homeowners can avoid foreclosure, and rebound out of the rut.

Foreclosure Workout

During the time between the foreclosure announcement and the house auction, lenders are encouraging a compromise rather than proceeding with the auction. Lenders want to see homeowners stay on the right track, and are willing to negotiate a mortgage payment suitable for the current lifestyle.

Short Sale

Following the Notice of Default filed by the lender, but before the auction, there is a time where new potential buyers could make an offer on the house. If an offer is made on the house, lenders have the ability to consider accepting or declining the offer. If the homeowner presents a reasonable short sale offer, the lender may see this as saving them the time and effort of finding a qualified buyer in a soft market.

Bankruptcy

The only option to immediately stop foreclosure is to file for bankruptcy. Once bankruptcy has been filed, federal law prohibits any debt collectors from continuing collection activities, including foreclosure. This means the homeowner will face the creditors in court, buying the homeowner more time to recover financially. This law requires mortgage companies to work in-hand with homeowners, compromising to find the right solution.

Deed in Lieu

In this step of the foreclosure process, homeowners voluntarily sign the deed of the home over to the bank. Although this option sounds easy, it can significantly impact a homeowner's credit score. Lender's can be reluctant to sign over the home, as they fear homeowners are manipulating the system and being dishonest about their financial stress. This makes it difficult for lenders to agree to a deed in lieu.

Assumption/Lease-Option

Most loans in today's world are no longer assumable, meaning the average mortgage contains a clause where the borrower agrees to pay off the loan entirely. If a homeowner is facing foreclosure, they may have the advantage of persuading their lender to modify the loan. This allows another buyer to assume the loan, making it a win-win for all parties.

Consider taking action to avoid home foreclosure, rather than ignoring the situation. There are multiple ways homeowners can steer clear of a completed foreclosure, all of which are easy to navigate.





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.

October
19

 The Basics of Qualifying for a Home Loan

Looking to purchase a new home or refinance requires an understanding of the basics of qualifying for a mortgage. It helps to know some basic steps can help prepare for what is ahead. Learn how to be in a position ahead of time to get the best deal available.

 

Credit

A credit report is required from three major credit bureaus to document payment histories for auto loans, personal loans, credit cards, debt collections or other negatives. Credit scores are considered a predictor of lending risk. The higher a score, the better it looks to a potential mortgage lender. The following factors may also play a role in credit scores:

  • Debt payment history, including late payments can influence credit score

  • Credit card balances of more than 30-50 percent of credit limit can have a negative impact on a credit score

  • Collections can damage your credit score but can be negotiated with the agency

  • Bankruptcies and foreclosures have a general waiting period of around 2-4 years following insolvency prior to qualifying for new mortgage financing

 

Capacity

A mortgage lender wants to know an individual has the financial ability to repay a home loan. W2 income (working for somebody) is considered the most stable source of income which varies little from month to month. Self-employed income is riskier in a lender's eyes as it can vary widely month to month in terms of generating revenue to pay a loan. Some helpful hints include:

  • Document income with W2s, paystubs and tax returns to demonstrate financial stability

  • Self-employed individuals will be required to document income on tax returns and should be prepared to show the documents to potential lenders

  • Debt-to-income ratio is important as it shows what proportion of income goes to debt payoff and risk for lending. Typical DTI should be lower than 45%-50% going to debt.

 

Collateral

The property being purchased will serve as collateral for the mortgage. A lender will look at the value of the property as one of the most important factors. A full appraisal may be required to verify the value and condition of the property.

 

Getting Started

The following are some great next steps to take when looking to take out a mortgage for a property:

  • Check credit and make sure any issues are cleared up ahead of time.

  • Pay off outstanding debt before applying for a loan. The lower the DTI ratio, the easier it is to get desirable financing terms. This can save money in the long run.

  • When refinancing, take care of necessary repairs before having an appraiser come out. This will help the home value.

 

Having a financial portfolio that looks solid, has low debt and high credit scores can greatly increase the chances for getting a mortgage with better financing terms. Understanding how lenders think and preparing the portfolio will help individuals prior to applying for a loan search for a great deal and support a smoother process overall.

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