Want to Test Your Home Buying IQ?

Want to Test Your Home Buying IQ?

If you’re thinking about buying a home, you’ve probably received your share of advice from family and friends. Add to that the constant stream of TV shows, news segments, and social media posts that over-simplify the home buying process for easy entertainment.

With so much information to sift through, it can be tough to distinguish fact from fiction. That’s why we’re revealing the truth behind some of the most common home buyer myths and misconceptions.

Buying a home is a big decision, but it doesn’t have to be a scary one. If you arm yourself with knowledge and a qualified team of support professionals, you’ll be well equipped to make the right choices for your family and financial future.

DON’T FALL FOR THESE COMMON HOME BUYER MYTHS

Myth #1: You need a 20% down payment.

Plenty of buyers are purchasing homes with down payments that are much less than 20% of the total cost of the property. Today, you can buy a home with as little as 3-5% down.

There are multiple programs out there that allow you to have a lower down payment, and a lender or mortgage broker can talk you through which option is the best for you. Since you’re putting less money down, you’re a riskier borrower to your lender than people who put down a full 20%. Because of this, you will most likely need to pay mortgage insurance as part of your monthly payment.

Myth #2: Real estate agents are expensive.

Your agent is with you every step of the way throughout your home buying journey, and he or she spends countless hours working on your behalf. It sounds like having an agent is expensive, right? Well, not for you. Buyers usually don’t pay a real estate agent’s commission. Your agent’s fee is paid for at closing by the seller of the home you’re buying.1The seller knows to factor this cost into the property’s total purchase price.

Myth #3: Don’t call a real estate agent until you’re ready to buy.

The earlier you bring in an agent to help with the purchasing process, the better. Even if you’re in the very early stages of casually browsing Zillow, a real estate professional can be a huge help.

They can create a search for you in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), so you get notifications for every house that meets your criteria as soon as it hits the market. The MLS is typically more up-to-date than popular home search sites like Zillow and Trulia. Setting up a search a few months before you’re considering buying gives you a good idea of what’s out there in your town that’s in your budget. Reviewing the MLS and speaking with an agent as soon as possible can help you set realistic expectations for when you actually start the house hunting process.

Myth #4: Fixer-uppers are more budget friendly.

We’ve all watched the shows on HGTV that encourage people to go after fixer-uppers because they’re more affordable and allow buyers to eventually renovate the home to include everything on their wishlist. But, this isn’t always the case.

Sometimes, homes that need a lot of work also require a lot of money. Big renovations, like add-ons, a total kitchen remodel, or installing a pool, take a lot longer than it looks on TV. If you’re really interested in a fixer-upper, ask your agent to show you a mix of newer homes and older homes. If you fall in love with an older home that needs a lot of work, get some quotes from contractors before you buy so you know the real cost of the renovations and see if you can work them into your budget.

Myth #5: Your only upfront cost is your down payment.

Your down payment is big, but it isn’t the only money you’ll spend during the home buying process. At closing, you’ll pay your down payment, but you’ll also bring closing costs to the table. Closing costs are typically anywhere from 2-4% of the total purchase price of the home.2This amount includes the cost for items like homeowners insurance, title fees, and more.

You’ll also need to pay for an inspection before closing, which usually costs a few hundred dollars. This price will be higher or lower based on the size of your new property. Your lender will also require an appraisal. An appraiser will come in and inspect the home to determine how much it’s worth. Depending on your lender, you may have to pay this when the appraisal is conducted or it might be rolled into your closing costs.

Myth #6: You need a high credit score to buy a house.

You don’t need perfect credit to buy the perfect home. There are loans out there that buyers with lower credit scores can qualify for. These are good options for people who have had credit issues in the past, but some of them come with additional fees you will need to pay. Speak to a few local lenders or mortgage brokers to talk through which options might be best for you.

Myth #7: You can’t qualify for a mortgage if you’re still paying off student loans.

While some buyers may feel more comfortable paying off their existing debts before taking the leap into homeownership, it’s not a requirement. When you’re applying for a mortgage, the lender takes a close look at your debt-to-income ratio.3 If you want to calculate this on your own, add up all of your monthly debt payments and divide those by your monthly income. When you’re lender does this, they’re trying to make sure that you will be able to afford your monthly mortgage payments along with your other existing payments. If your income is high enough to allow you to make all of these payments each month, having a student loan will most likely not stop you from getting a mortgage.

Myth #8: You should base your budget on what your lender approves.

How much house you qualify for and how much you can afford are two totally different numbers. When you prequalify for a mortgage, your lender will look at your income, debt, assets, credit score, and financial history to determine how much money you might qualify for.4 For some people, this number might be much higher than you thought because lenders tend to approve for the highest amount they think you can afford. But that doesn’t mean that’s how much you should borrow.

Instead, figure out how much house you can actually afford. An online mortgage calculatorcan be a good first step in determining this number. We recommend thinking about what you want your monthly payment to be as a starting point. And remember to include your principal, interest, taxes, and, insurance. You should also think about ownership expenses that aren’t part of your monthly payment, like HOA dues and maintenance.

Myth #9: It’s all about location.

You’ve heard the phrase. Location, location, location is basically the real estate industry’s motto, but we’ll let you in on a little known secret: It’s not always true. Yes, location is great to consider when it comes to school districts and commute times, but you also need to think about how the home will function for you and/or your family’s lifestyle. If a family of five is choosing between a one bedroom condo in the bustling city center and a 4-bedroom home out in the suburbs, the latter is probably the best, most functional choice for them. Also, by buying in a less sought after neighborhood, your property taxes will most likely be much lower!

Obviously, you might still want to choose an area with great resale potential, and this is something that your agent can speak to you about. They’re an expert in your city and are constantly monitoring buying and selling trends.

Myth #10: If you look hard enough, you’ll find a home that checks every box on your wishlist.

You’ve seen that famous house hunting show. And while we have our suspicions about how real it is, the one thing they get right is that almost every buyer needs to compromise on something. Yes, the perfect house that meets every item on your wishlist is probably out there, but it’s also probably double or triple your budget.

A long wishlist can be a great starting point for figuring out what you want and don’t want, but we recommend narrowing that wishlist down to the top five things that are important to you in order of priority. We also recommend noting on your wishlist what your absolute deal breakers are, like “must have a yard for our dog,” and noting what you can live without, like “heated bathroom floors.”

This is a great list to discuss when you first start talking to an agent. A good real estate agent will be able to look at your list and find properties that might work for you. By coming to that first meeting with realistic expectations and knowledge about home buying rather than a bunch of myths heard here and there, you’ll be able to start the process off on the right foot and be in your new house in no time.

WE’RE HERE TO HELP

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned homeowner, there’s no reason to go through the home buying process without an advocate on your side. We’re here to answer your questions and do the hard work for you, so you can spend your time dreaming about your new home. Call us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

Get a FREE copy of our Home Buyer’s Guide to Getting Mortgage Ready

 

Now that we’ve cleared up these common homebuyer myths, find out if you know the steps you should take to prepare financially before you apply for a mortgage. Contact us to request a complimentary copy of our “Home Buyer’s Guide to Getting Mortgage Ready.”

 

Note: Mortgage Ready Guides are part of the March 2018 MVP.

Download US Version at: https://dashboard.thepaperlessagent.com/download/march-2018-digital-marketing-campaign-report/

Sources:

  1. Realtor.com – https://www.realtor.com/advice/finance/realtor-fees-closing-costs/
  1. The Balance –  https://www.thebalance.com/buyer-s-closing-costs-1798422
  2. StudentLoanHero – https://studentloanhero.com/featured/student-loans-buying-house/
  1. Zillow – https://www.zillow.com/mortgage-learning/pre-qualification-vs-pre-approval/

Questions Before A FSBO Disaster

Don't FSBO
 

Eight soul-searching questions homesellers should ask before going FSBO… 

Inman: Let’s face it, selling a home without a real estate agent is just plain risky.  A FSBO jeopardizes time, money, and most importantly, an advantageous outcome.

But, despite research that shows that shows that FSBO listings sell for about 5.5 percent less than comparable properties sold through the MLS, some sellers still want to go the do-it-yourself route, forgoing the cost of commission and the aid of an agent.

In reality, a listing agent brings more to the table than most homeowners realize. The next time you try to turn a FSBO, point them to these critical questions and remind them of these eight invaluable benefits agents offer.

1. Knowledge

What you don’t know can absolutely hurt you, and it can come back to bite you even worse.

A real estate agent’s knowledge is priceless.

Agents know what the internet doesn’t tell consumers, and they can provide insight that consumers can’t get online.

Agents know how to make sense of the data and the entire selling process so that sellers and their home are fully prepared before hitting the market.

2. Time

Everyone’s time is valuable, but do sellers truly have time to attempt to play the real estate agent role?

Are sellers available to show their home in a safe manner, and is it accessible on a moment’s notice?

How will sellers handle showings when they are on vacation for a week and there are cash buyers in town?

Can you say lost opportunity?

Do sellers have the time to devote to scheduling and managing showing appointments? What about feedback? Do sellers know what questions to ask and the best way to reach agents to elicit a response?

Are they able to aptly respond to agent and buyer questions, concerns and objections in a manner that will help overcome the hesitation to move forward?

Are sellers able to offer solutions to buyer-perceived obstacles with the property? Can they furnish expert resources such as architects, contractors, designers, engineers or other experts?

3. Presentation

Image is everything when it comes to real estate. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and the same goes for putting a property up for sale.

Do sellers know how to properly prepare their home for sale, and do they know what it needs or doesn’t need?

Are they able to stage it or bring in someone who can? What about professional photography, drone, video and 3D? Are they able to orchestrate photo and video shoots with ease and know who to contact? What about photo styling and having an eye for how a space will translate on camera?

4. Marketing

How are sellers going to market their property? Do they know who the buyer demographic is for their home and/or neighborhood? How do sellers reach buyers?

Do sellers have access to predictive analytics or know how to strategically promote the listing to other agents in the community and on social media?

What kind of print media is appropriate for the property, and how will sellers have that created and printed? What agents are most likely to have buyers for the home?

Are they local or regional, or must sellers reach out nationally or internationally?

In real estate, the world doesn’t seem so vast as agent networks are strong, and six degrees of separation often ensues when an agent in New York City reaches out to his or her agent contact in China about a buyer for a property.

5. Negotiation experience

So the sellers received an offer. Now what? How do they respond? What do they look for in that purchase agreement?

In this hot seller’s market that many are experiencing right now, are sellers prepared to take multiple offers and milk a bidding war to get the best deal?

What terms and conditions could be disadvantageous to the sellers? What costs should or shouldn’t they incur? Do they know how to negotiate to keep the buyer in the game versus walking away?

How do they strike a delicate balance between protecting their interests as a seller and working with the buyer toward the goal of putting an agreement together?

Here’s where what sellers don’t know can hurt them the most.

6. Inspection and repair know-how 

This is one of the most difficult parts of a real estate transaction, even for real estate professionals. Do sellers know what inspections they should expect?

How should they handle items that are flagged as needing repair or replacement by an inspector? What kinds of repairs are usually done by a seller?

Do they have a roster of repair people at the ready who can come out on a moment’s notice?

Hint: It’s typically not who you find in the Yellow Pages or by doing a Google search.

If sellers don’t know better, they could find themselves making an improvement, not a repair on their home for a new buyer.

7. Transaction management

So the home is under contract with a buyer. What do sellers do next? Do they know who they need to be in contact with?

Who is going to be handling the closing? What items should they be following up on? How will they handle challenges like the property not appraising for the contract sales price or the deal potentially derailing due to home inspection issues?

What happens if the buyer’s financing is shaky?

8. Closing finesse

Do sellers know what the closing protocol is in their market and what the expectations are? When do sellers have to be completely moved out of the house?

In some markets, that means by the day of closing, and in others, the seller has possession for a few days after closing.

What condition are sellers expected to leave the home in? How do they handle unexpected, last-minute issues that may arise: the movers damage the home when moving belongings out, the air conditioner is on the fritz, or worse yet, the moving crew doesn’t show up when they are supposed to.

Selling a home without an agent is like throwing caution to the wind along with the commission.

The perceived savings can come back to bite sellers in terms of uninformed decisions and costly mistakes that — in the long run — end up costing sellers more money than if they would have used an agent to protect their interests and help them justify their home’s value in the first place.

Thanks to Inman contributor, Cara Ameer a broker associate and Realtor with Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.