Angela Bergin's Blog
The summer real estate season provides a valuable opportunity for homebuyers across the United States. And with the right homebuying strategy, you should have no trouble securing your dream home at a price that fits your budget.
What does it take to discover a wonderful home in summer? Here are three tips to help you purchase a great home during the warmest months of the year:
1. Know What You Want from Your Dream Home
Although you may allocate substantial time and resources to browse the real estate market, your best efforts may not be enough to find your dream residence. As such, you'll want to go above and beyond the call of duty to transform your homeownership dream into a reality.
Make a checklist of must-haves for your dream residence before you browse homes that are available in summer. By doing so, you'll be able to better understand what you want from your dream house and plan accordingly.
In addition, getting pre-approved for a mortgage usually is an excellent idea. With pre-approval, you'll know exactly how much you can spend to acquire your dream house.
2. Take Advantage of Vacations and Long Weekends
For many people, summertime offers extended breaks from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life. Meanwhile, homebuyers who take advantage of extra time may be able to commit additional resources to complete their search for the perfect house.
Summer vacations and long weekends can be a time to relax. However, if you have time to spare, feel free to browse the real estate market. By doing so, you can check out a broad array of houses and even set up home showings at your convenience.
When it comes to checking out homes in summer, don't forget to enjoy the beautiful weather, either. For example, if you spend an afternoon viewing homes, you may want to reward yourself with a trip to the amusement park in the evening. Or, if you're checking out a home that is located near a beach, feel free to plan a beach trip after the home showing is finished.
3. Hire an Experienced Real Estate Agent
Navigating the real estate market may seem impossible at times, particularly during summer. Fortunately, hiring an experienced real estate agent ensures that you can streamline the process of securing your dream residence.
An experienced real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the housing market and will do whatever he or she can to help you find a terrific home. This real estate professional can offer information about home listings in your area and set up times to view houses. Plus, your real estate agent will be able to respond to your homebuying concerns or questions at any time.
Employ an experienced real estate agent to take the guesswork out of acquiring a home in summer – you'll be happy you did. With support from an experienced real estate agent, you can explore a vast array of houses and find one that suits you perfectly.
26 Chickatabot Rd, Quincy, MA 02169
If you’re a newer homeowner, odds are you don’t really “own” your home outright. Rather, you likely have equity in your home.
In this article, we’re going to talk about what home equity is, how to use it to your advantage, and things you should avoid using your home equity toward.
What is home equity?
Unless you’re one of the lucky few who paid for their homes in cash, you probably took out a mortgage. As you pay off that mortgage you build equity.
Home equity is essentially the value of a property that a homeowner has at their disposal due to paying back part or all of their mortgage.
However, there’s another factor at play in home equity, and that’s market value.
Since the housing market fluctuates, the value of your home does as well, and as a result, your home equity changes with the market value of a house. That might sound worrying, but the good news is that due to something called appreciation.
In the same way that the cost of living tends to rise each year with inflation, so do housing prices. However, appreciation isn’t the only factor at play in the valuation of your house. As your home ages, it will likely need some renovations, which could decrease the home value.
Generally speaking, however, your equity achieves a net gain as you pay your mortgage and the value appreciates.
Now that we know why equity can be so beneficial as an asset, let’s talk about ways to build it.
The best way to build home equity is to repay your home loan. However, more than simply repaying, you’ll want to repay in the fewest number of years to avoid paying more in interest. The longer you take to pay your mortgage, the more interest accrues that could have been used toward other investments.
The second way to increase equity is one we mentioned before--market fluctuation--namely appreciation. To improve the chances of getting a high appraisal of your home, it’s important to keep up with maintenance and make smart renovation choices that will have a high return on investment.
Using home equity
The best use of home equity is to leave it be and increase its value over time. However, that isn’t always possible for all of us. Since many of us need to move before repaying our full mortgage, equity allows homebuyers to use their equity toward their next mortgage.
Another option is to take out a home equity loan or home equity line of credit. Ideally, you’ll only use these loans if you’re planning on using the loan money to increase the value of the home via home improvement projects.
Borrowing against your home equity does come with risks. Since you are putting your share of your home on the line, there is a chance of your home being foreclosed on if you don’t repay the home equity loan. However, lenders typically seek other methods of repayment or settlement before foreclosure.
Applying for a mortgage can be a lengthy and difficult process. Lenders want to know that they are going to get a return on their investment.
To ensure that they’ll see that positive return they will take a number of things into consideration, such as your income, credit score, employment history, and financial capital.
First-time homeowners often struggle when it comes to these prerequisites since they have fewer years of numbers for lenders to consider. If you’re one of those people, don’t worry--you can still purchase a home.
First-time homeowner loans, which are guaranteed by the U.S. government, and a number of private loans enable people to borrow money for a home without paying a huge down payment or having a vast credit history.
One downfall of said loans is private mortgage insurance, or “PMI.”
In this article, we’re going to talk about what private mortgage insurance is, how to avoid it, and how to get rid of it.
What is PMI?
If you make a down payment on a mortgage that is less than 20% of the loan amount, you will most likely have to pay private mortgage insurance.
PMI exists as a way for lenders to help guarantee they won’t lose money off of your loan. If you make a down payment of 20% or more, then lenders are typically satisfied that they won’t lose money from doing business with you.
PMI is not to be confused with home insurance, which protects you against damage and theft. Rather, it is an additional fee you’ll pay to your lender each month that is added to your mortgage payment.
PMI is calculated based on a few considerations. Lenders will take into account your down payment amount, the value of the mortgage, and your credit score.
In terms of costs, PMI typically costs between .5 and 1% of the total mortgage amount each year.
Naturally, it’s best to avoid paying private mortgage insurance altogether. Private mortgage insurance has no future value for you and your family since it doesn’t count towards building equity and doesn’t protect you from any potential financial harm (your lender is the sole beneficiary of PMI).
Saving for a down payment can take time, and sometimes you’ll need to rent or cut costs while you save. However, if you do take on a loan with PMI, you can still cancel it at a later point.
Canceling your private mortgage insurance
The first thing you should know about canceling PMI is that it usually isn’t easy. You’ll need pay off at least 20% of the home, write a letter to your lender, and wait for an appraisal of the home. Once you’ve done this, you still have to wait while your lender considers your request. In all, this process could take months--months that you’re still required to pay PMI.
Once common way to get out of PMI is to refinance. If the value of your home has increased since the time of you taking on the loan, the new lender likely won’t require PMI. However, you’ll want to make sure that refinancing will get you a lower interest rate and cover the costs of refinancing.