8 things to avoid when purchasing a home

8 things to avoid when purchasing a home

The last thing in the world you would ever want is to spend a bunch of time searching for a home, finding that perfect place and then not being approved for your mortgage. There are also many common mistakes homebuyers make that could make the process much more painful than it has to be.

We’re writing this article because we know how stressful it can be to buy a house. In order to make your process easier, we are going to cover the 9 things you shouldn’t do when buying a home.

1) Don’t overestimate your budget.

Ever heard the expression “House poor“? Many homebuyers overestimate what they can actually afford and end up with very little wiggle room financially. Before jumping into buying, make sure you have a realistic idea of the yearly costs involved with owning a home.

Remember, there is your mortgage, property taxes, utilities, insurance and repairs. All of this before you even think about making upgrades. Factor in all the costs and leave yourself some room.

2) Don’t let your emotions run wild.

Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions of your life. It’s normal to be excited and fall in love with a home. However, try to keep a level head. Falling in love with a home can cloud your judgement or end in disappointment. This can happen if unforeseen issues are exposed in the inspection or if someone puts in an offer before you.

If you don’t find a home… don’t get discouraged. Home searching can be a lengthy process. It will be worth it when you find the winner.

3) Don’t talk to sellers about plans for the house.

As much as you are excited to get in and put your personal touch on the home, it’s best to keep this to yourself. Sometimes home buyers meet and get to know the home owners. This is fine, but remember that the current owner will have an emotional attachment to the property.

It’s best not to make them feel like you’re going to come in and completely change the place. If you make conversation with the owners, just keep the conversation light.

4) Don’t withdraw or deposit a lot of cash.

Going further with your financial history, cash withdraws and deposits also play a part in your mortgage approval rate. Large quantities of cash going in or out of your accounts signals a warning sign that you do not have stability. Avoid any sporadic withdraws or deposits of large sums of cash.

5) Don’t apply for more credit.

The amount you are approved for on your mortgage comes down to your capital. How much money do you have at your disposal? Applying for extra credit increases your debt. This extra debt decreases the amount you will be approved for on a mortgage.

6) Don’t co-sign a loan.

While a loan may not technically be yours – it will still equally count towards your overall debt. Co-signing a loan can have an impact on not only the amount of your mortgage, but approval rate in general. Avoid co-signing any loans until you have purchased your home.

7) Don’t finance a car or furniture.

As financing is again a loan, it is therefore debt. Stay away from financing a car or furniture for the above mortgage approval reasons.

8) Don’t switch or leave your job.

Financial stability is one of the most important factors considered when a bank is approving your mortgage. The key to financial stability is having a dependable income. If you switch or leave your job, often or before applying for a mortgage, this may signal red flags.

If you are thinking about a move, hang tight with your job until after your mortgage is approved.

Ensure you don’t make these mistakes

There are many important things to consider when purchasing a home. It is one of the biggest decisions of your life.

In order to ensure that you get the house you want, when you want it, you need to understand and follow those above tips. Doing so will increase your chances of finding that perfect home and getting it. Remember that financials are very important when it comes time to apply for a mortgage. Make that your priority.

Also keep in mind the emotional aspects of purchasing a home and try to stay cool. It can be a draining process, but it will be worth it when you get the keys to the castle!

Are you looking for a home in the area? Give me a call. I’d love to help you find a home (and make sure you make none of the above mistakes in the process!)

Should I Rent or Buy a Home?

Should I Rent or Buy a Home?

Choosing whether to rent or own a home is not an easy decision. It requires you to carefully examine the factors and costs associated with each option. Which is better? That depends.

Your unique economic situation, lifestyle and goals play the largest part in deciding what is better for you. It’s important to go into your calculations with open eyes. As much as you want a home, you may not be able to afford it. Or it may not be the right decision for the way you like to live.

Factors To Consider When Buying/Renting a Home

The following four points are the largest factors to consider when weighing the pros and cons of home ownership vs. rental.

1) What are the total costs?

Many people look at the economics of home-ownership as a mortgage payment only. In reality there are insurance, repairs, property tax, homeowners association dues etc. that all have to be factored in to your monthly costs. Check out this calculator from the New York Times to see more.

Use a calculator and compare to see if:

  1. The monthly cost as a homeowner is less than renting.
  2. You can afford the monthly cost (if it works out more than renting in your area)
  3. Saving a 10-20% down-payment is feasible for you

If owning a home definitely the way to go for you, you need to be able to answer the above questions definitively.

2) What is important to you?

Are you more interested in building for the future, or reducing your financial risk until you can figure out a plan? You may want to own if you are thinking about starting a family. But as someone who is single, you may enjoy your freedom and having less financial debt. (Even if it is building your net worth in the long run)

Undoubtedly, buying a house only makes sense if you plan to set up roots. If you plan to move within (or every) 5 years, your transaction costs will likely bring the equity you build in your house to zero. Thus diminishing your upside while carrying all of the liabilities that come along with home ownership. Owning a home is a smart decision if you plan to stay for 10 years or more.

3) What is your preferred lifestyle?

Do you want to build a career in a specific city or travel around? Do you have long-term goals in mind? It’s okay if you don’t. The most important part is being aware of where you are at. You may want to get some international work experience or try your luck in another part of the country. Or not.

Really think about what you want. You could lose some serious money if you buy a house and sell within a few years because you decide it isn’t for you.

4) What are the opportunity costs?

Think about the pros and cons of home-ownership. On one hand, you will always have a home base. On the other, you have a property that ties you down to a geographical location. Can you make more money in another city? With a home, you can’t move to pursue those opportunities.

If rent is equal to monthly payments as an owner, think about the opportunity costs of having all of your money tied up in the house. For example, some investors may rent and opt to invest their money in the stock-market or other investments in their portfolio. Can you make higher percentage returns yearly with the money you would be using for a down payment?

The above were things you will want to consider. If you need to be realistic to make the right decision about renting vs owning a home. The below two situations may help if you aren’t able to come to a conclusion.

When is Renting a Home Better?

Despite popular belief, owning a home is not always the best decision. Let’s not be black and white. It depends on your particular situation.

You may want to rent if:

  1. You want to travel and set-up shop in different places every few years.
  2. You do not have the job or financial security to (realistically) guarantee payments for years to come.
  3. You have demonstrated the ability to make better financial returns through other investments.

There are other factors. However, this is a good starting point to help you determine your argument for renting versus owning a home. The benefit of renting is not being tied down to a geographic location and being able to leave when your lease runs up.

When is Owning a Home Better?

Owning a home is the long-term game. You need to have your goals in mind and understand if you can afford it.

You may want own if:

  1. You are okay with staying in one place for 10 years or more.
  2. You have the financial stability to afford the home (and float payments if you lose your job)
  3. You want to leverage your home as an investment property down the line (through rental)

Owning a home gives you an anchor. It helps you stay grounded by having a home base. At the same time, you can increase your upward potential by leveraging the home as an investment property.

Some food for thought

Choosing to rent or own your home is a big decision. It depends on your individual situation and vision for the future. In short, owning is traditionally the better long-term strategy. However, that’s not to say that you can’t do as good or better with the right investment portfolio.

Before jumping into anything, analyze yourself. Think hard about where you are and what you want for the future. Speak to a realtor and see if they have any advice for your individual situation.

If you are looking at purchasing property in the area, give me a call. I’d love to discuss your options and see if buying is the right path for you.

A Millennials Guide To Buying A Home

A Millennials Guide To Buying A Home

It’s not your parent’s real estate market! Not for you Millennial’s, anyways. It a world where all kinds of information is at your disposal, you have to be able to sift through the good and the bad.

What do I mean by that? Well, there’s plenty of fake info out there when searching for a home. Don’t be fulled by the Z-estimate type algorithms that trying to over simplify complex valuations or the one click pre-approval websites.

When starting your search, there are quite a few hacks and tips that we’d like to offer ! These are all meant to make your search and the overall process a little easier…

Use Technology Sparingly! Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, SibcyCline.com…they all work great! But keep in mind what’s good about each. Zillow aggregates all sorts of info into one place, Trulia offers a user experience specific to Millenials, Sibcy Cline or ColdwellBanker.com have comprehensive local data and listings, but each of these are really just search tools. Find one or two and stick to them. If you keep switching amongst tools, you won’t become an expert on any of these.

Search Local! In addition to the local brokerage websites, try using the auditor sites or GIS Sites. Hamilton County GIS is one of our favorite (Cagis.org). It allows you to measure parcels, check overlay districts (think Hillside Overlay) and even blend aerial maps and parcel outlines. Also, the auditor’s site should be your best friend when reviewing comps and taxes. Don’t be afraid to lean on your Realtor here. This is where their expertise can shine!

How bulky is that savings account? Lets change gears to your dinero! Buying a home often comes with a hefty downpayment. BUT, there are special financing products that allow you to put less down. Open up that online bank account and take a look at where you stand. This will be helpful information to pass on to your loan officer so you can talk intelligently about your best options. Side Note: We wouldn’t recommend loan website’s like Rocket Mortgage or Quicken Loans. Most times, they don’t offer the best products because they can’t really get to know you by just answering a few questions!

Get Help! Unless you’ve bought a home before, we strongly encourage you to find a Real Estate agent to trust! Buyer’s agents typically get paid by the Seller of a property. Their commission is built into the list price so hiring your own Realtor is a VERY good idea. You need someone to explain the process and go to bat for you so you don’t make a bad decision.

To understand how to get started in general, you can download Build Cincinnati’s Millennial Guide to Buying a Home.  [download id=”2310″ template=”First Time Buyer”]It’s short, sweet and right to the point.

Wire Fraud – In a day and age where everything can be done online, we most cautious when wiring funds. We’re jumping ahead quite a bit since wiring funds doesn’t normally happen until the closing, but it’s important to mention. Wire Fraud is prevalent and you need to be careful. NEVER wire funds before you call the title company to verify the wiring instructions. You’ll want to confirm all of the details because emails can be hacked!!
Buy for today, but think of tomorrow!

Lastly, think about how long you’re planning to live in your home. If it’s a 2-5 year time frame, the size of the home and the mortgage product should match. Maybe you go with an adjustable rate loan for a condo that you only plan to be in for a few years. However, if it’s your “forever” home, maybe you should look at something for your future, growing family with a 30 year fixed loan to go along with it!

So, as you get started, don’t just jump in. It never hurts to keep an eye on new listings of course, but have a plan for buying. Whether you’re looking to build, buy or renovate, a plan will keep you from making any rash decisions. And, when in doubt, call an expert. Pick their brain and verify with the 100s of tech tools and websites at your disposal!

Why It’s The Wild West In Cincy’s Rough n’ Tumble Housing Market

Why It’s The Wild West In Cincy’s Rough n’ Tumble Housing Market

How many homes are on the market in Cincinnati? About 4,000.

In other words, not many. And housing inventory—that’s what that’s called—is falling fast. This time last year there were 15 percent more homes on the market than there are today.

Here’s what that means if you’re thinking about dipping into the housing market: The buying windows are smaller, the prices are rising, and more than any time in recent memory you should consider building one yourself.

As to that last part—the whole resale vs. new construction debate—we’ve got a few words of wisdom to get you started:

NEW BUILD!

Upfront/long-term costs: Generally the cost to acquire a lot and build on it is higher than buying an existing home. The thing to keep in mind here is maintenance costs, which are reliably lower in new homes—at least in the time frames we’re talking about (20-30 years).

Build it now: Rising interest rates are increasing the cost of homeownership, whether new build or resale. But new build prices are also sensitive to commodity prices—lumber, steel, roofing, etc. And commodity prices are rising too, meaning if you want to build new, you should do it soon.

Hot neighborhoods: The myth about new homes is you can’t find lots in hot neighborhoods—Madeira, Hyde Park, Downtown, et al. But that’s not true. Whether through subdivision or tear down, lots are available in these communities, and you can get ahold of them today.

Exactly yours: File this one under the category of “super obvious things,” but when you build a new home, you get to make it exactly what you want. That includes the floor plan, materials, interior design… everything you can afford, you can have. It really will be the house of your dreams.

RESALE!

Character: Like a broken-in baseball glove, an existing home is aged and polished in all the right places. It has strange intricacies, lovable imperfections, and a certain way of getting better the more you get to know it. You don’t get that with new build.

Maintenance costs: The thing people underestimate most about owning a home is the constant work it requires. Well, that work gets more expensive as a house ages. Yes, this is the downside of the whole “character” thing; it’s all fun and games until you need a new boiler.

Walk-in ready: Build new and you could be waiting for more than a year to move in. Buy a home that’s already built and, well, “here are the keys.” All you need to do is arrange the furniture, and your life immediately gets simpler.

The market is about to heat up: Think it’s difficult finding a house you love now? Wait until it really gets warm out—May and June. That’s when home sales go into overdrive. It’s also when things tend to go on and off the market in a matter of days, if not hours. So you should strike before the iron gets hot; that is, get looking now.

…and when you do decide to get looking, there’s not a better team out there than our friends at Build Cincinnati. With them you get the best of both words—a diverse portfolio of resale homes in hot communities, and a better understanding of new construction than any other realtor group in the area.

as featured in Cincinnati Refined (in partnership with Local 12 News).

Written by Brian Penlap: http://cincinnatirefined.com/arts-design/cincinnati-housing-market-build-cincinnati-coldwell-banker-west-shell-local-real-estate-team