Sandy Lucchesi's Blog
Buying a home can be fast and easy for just about anyone. However, becoming the "perfect" property buyer can be challenging, particularly for those who are shopping for a house for the first time.
The perfect homebuyer understands what it takes to land his or her ideal house at the best price. As such, he or she will know how to handle difficult homebuying situations and streamline the process of going from property buyer to property owner.
Ultimately, becoming the perfect homebuyer may be easier than you think – here are three tips to help you acquire your ideal residence quickly and effortlessly.
1. Study the Real Estate Market Closely
The real estate market has many ups and downs, but the perfect homebuyer will know the ins and outs of the housing sector. By studying the real estate market closely, this property buyer will be able to identify the right opportunities and overcome any potential homebuying hurdles.
Spend some time looking at the prices of homes that are currently available. This will allow you to find homes at price that you like – and homes at prices that you don't like – and map out your homebuying journey accordingly.
Also, take a look at homes that recently sold in cities or towns where you'd like to live. This will enable you to differentiate between a buyer's market and a seller's market.
2. Know What You Can Spend on a Home
The perfect homebuyer should have no trouble avoiding the temptation to overspend on a house. In fact, this homebuyer will understand how to get pre-approved for a mortgage, which will ensure that he or she can establish a property buying budget.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, a homebuyer should meet with several banks and credit unions. Each meeting will enable a homebuyer to learn about the mortgage options that are available from a variety of lenders. Plus, a homebuyer can ask questions and discuss myriad mortgage options with these lenders.
With pre-approval for a mortgage, a homebuyer will be able to enter the housing market with a budget in hand. Then, this property buyer can narrow his or her search for the ideal residence.
3. Collaborate with a Housing Market Professional
Becoming the perfect homebuyer may require you to receive housing market guidance at times. Fortunately, if you work with a real estate agent, you can get top-notch support as you navigate the homebuying journey.
A real estate agent is a housing market professional who will go above and beyond the call of duty to assist you. He or she will be able to provide homebuying recommendations to help you make informed decisions. Also, a real estate agent will be able to keep you up to date about new houses as they become available, guaranteeing that you can speed up the homebuying process.
When it comes to buying a home, it is essential to do whatever it takes to acquire a first-rate residence at a budget-friendly price. Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can move one step closer to doing just that.
Building a fence on your property can be a great way to secure privacy, add curb appeal, or give your kids and dog a great way to play safely. There are a few things that you should know about building a fence before you take the project on. You need to be sure that everything is in place so that the project will go smoothly.
Know What You Want
If you know the purpose of the fence, you’ll need to decide on the type of fence that will best serve what you’re looking to achieve. If you live in an area governed by an HOA for example, you may need to get clearance just to start the project. The Association may have rules and regulations as to what type of fence they’ll allow you to put up. Many variables should be answered before you leap into the project of building a fence.
Decide On The Materials The Fence Will Be Made From
Once you know the type of fence you need, you’ll choose what that fence will be made of. If you get a wood fence, that may require a bit more maintenance than other types of fences. Materials you can choose from include:
There are many advantages and disadvantages to these materials so do your research and discover which one will be best for you. You can even mix and match fencing materials. You may be able to use one type of fencing material in the front of your home and another kind of fencing in the back. You can get as creative as you need to be.
Use Natural Borders
If fencing isn’t your thing, you can create borders around your property using natural barriers like shrubs, bushes, or trees. Using natural barriers is a surefire way to add curb appeal and gain some privacy as well.
Research Fencing Types
As with anything in your home, a little research can go a long way. You want to take the time to see what the best kind of fence is for you to put up. Another thing to do before you put up a fence is to talk with your neighbors. You don’t want to start a big project that will be right on their property line and get them upset with you. Depending on the nature of your neighborhood, you may even need a written agreement with your neighbors before you build a fence.
If you’re retired, own your own home and have trouble making ends meet, a reverse mortgage may seem like the answer to prayers. You get to stay in your house and you’ll have some extra cash to see you through. Before you run to the nearest lender, however, consider the downside as well as upside to these instruments.
What is a reverse mortgage?
A financial institution lends you money, either a lump sum, a stream of payments or a line of credit, against the equity in your home. Unlike most loans, however, you’re not required to pay it back on a regular basis. You can let the loan ride until you die, move or sell the home, at which your home is sold and the proceeds pay off the loan.
While there are several flavors of reverse mortgage, most are insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) under a program called the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM).
Am I eligible for a reverse mortgage?
Everyone on the title must be 62 or older. The home must be your primary residence, and your equity needs to be at least around 50 percent. Also, you have to attend consumer counseling before signing up.
What are the pros of a reverse mortgage?
You stay in your home. You keep the title until you sell, move or die.
There are no required monthly payments. Any previous home loans are paid before you receive your proceeds.
If you choose to make payments, there’s no prepayment penalty.
The money you receive is not taxable, nor does it affect your Social Security or Medicare eligibility.
The loan is non-recourse. Regardless of your loan balance, you'll never have to pay back more than the house is worth.
What are the cons of a reverse mortgage?
Unless you make payments, the loan amount will continue to increase. It’s unlikely you’ll pass the home on to your heirs.
You must continue to pay taxes, insurance and necessary maintenance and repairs. Failure to do so can lead to foreclosure.
There are upfront and ongoing mortgage insurance premiums as well as a loan origination fee. These (and interest rates) trend higher than for other mortgage loans.
Your favorite bank may not offer reverse mortgages. Most issuers are small banks, credit unions and online lenders. Some lenders have made misleading claims that understate the risk.
If you go into a nursing home you will have to sell the home and pay off the loan.
While Social Security and Medicare are not an issue, reverse mortgage income can affect your eligibility for Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income.
Should I apply for a reverse mortgage?
If you plan to stay in your home well into retirement and are having trouble with ongoing expenses, it may be right for you. However, if you aren’t cautious about what you’re getting into, or if you’ll have trouble paying taxes, insurance and upkeep even with the extra money, it isn’t a wise choice.
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Should you cosign on a mortgage loan to help someone else buy a house?
Hopeful home buyers who lack the necessary credit history, W-2 income or overall income versus their debt can face problems getting a mortgage lender to approve a loan. Borrowers with a 43% or higher debt-to-income ratio may learn their income doesn't suffice. Yet if a cosigner steps up, promising to pay the mortgage if needed, the loan might be approved.
If you are the one who steps in, it's highly likely that your name will actually be on the title. Most lenders want it that way, so the asset can be pledged as collateral by both of you.
Are You Prepared to Do More Than Simply Cosign the Loan? Should You?
So, if the mortgage company asks you to serve as a co-borrower, not just a cosigner, understand the lender's expectations. Does the lender expect you to become a co-owner? If so, your name will appear, along with the primary borrower's, on the deed — even if you never set foot in the house and don't expect to pay anything.
If the person you are helping ever gets in a bind and can't make a mortgage payment, you'll be second in line to pay. And your credit report will be dented if you don't.
Were you a mere cosigner, you'd be asked to pay the debt but never have a claim to the value of the home. In other words, mere cosigners get liability for the debt — without the asset.
What Does a Good Outcome Look Like?
Of course, you want the person you're helping to enjoy living in the home, to pay the monthly mortgage and, ultimately, to apply for a new loan that refinances the debt and turns the primary borrower into the sole borrower and the sole owner.
Even if you are 100% sure all will go as planned, it's a good idea to have a lawyer draw up a binding agreement that memorializes the primary borrower's intent to let you off the title, deed, mortgage and homeowner's insurance policy by a date certain after closing on the home. It will keep the primary borrower focused on making regular mortgage payments and developing strong credit, anticipating the refinancing application process.
When the primary buyer successfully refinances the home mortgage, it will be time for you to take your name off the title. You can sign a quitclaim deed to release yourself from ownership.
Then you can congratulate yourself for enabling someone to buy a home. And congratulate the new homeowner for keeping both of your credit ratings as strong as your relationship.