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  • Right now, the US housing market has yet to fully recover from its peak in 2006. Yes, things are healing quite nicely in many markets with some decent price appreciation, but the costs of buying a home are still very affordable. Between low home prices and favorable interest rates, this is a great time for first time home buyers to get into the real estate game.

    But, becoming a first time home buyer can be a daunting decision. These are just so many complexities that jumping in at the wrong time might not be the best decision. Instead, its much wiser to be prepared for the ups and downs of home buying.

    Getting into the market when you are certain its the right time is one of the best moves your can make as a first time home owner. When the time is right here are seven common mistakes made by first time home buyers that should be avoided at all costs.

    NOT GETTING THE RIGHT REAL ESTATE AGENT

    When you set out to buy your first home one of the top priorities should be finding a Realtor you are comfortable working with. The agent should have some experience and be competent enough to answer questions pertaining to buying and selling homes. Never under estimate the important of having a good agent. Just like any other business this really matters. You wouldnt just hire any doctor to operate on you would you? Buying a home is a very large investment. You want to have someone in your corner that is a real pro! Here is a neatinfo-graphic that summarizes the importance of a real estate agent. You will realize this is great advice the moment you pick any ole real estate agent to work with you and find yourself in a tough spot where a great agent would be welcome.

    NOT CONSIDERING RENTING MAY BE BETTER DECISION

    Home ownership has long since been the American Dream. But, that same dream had thousands of homeowners facing foreclosure just a few years ago. So, be wise. Weigh your options. If the costs of owning a home are unaffordable or not feasible for you at this time, continue renting until youre ready.

    If you are going to make the leap into home ownership you want to be aware that you costs are not just principle, taxes and insurance but also the day to day expenses of owning a home. Buyers should always have emergency funds available for those occasions where financial difficulties arrive. As Kyle Hiscock, a New York Realtor points out in hisfirst time home buyer advice, understanding your complete financial picture is an important element before jumping in and looking at properties. It doesnt make a lot of sense to be a fiscally irresponsible home buyer. Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make in your lifetime.

    NOT PREPARED FOR ALL-CASH COMPETITORS

    In expensive, competitive markets, such as the San Francisco Bay, Los Angeles and New York City areas, all-cash offers are very common. Thats because they almost guarantee potential buyers winning bids. As a first time home buyer, be prepared for this competition by being well educated on the current market. Above all else make sure you have your finances in order. Make getting a pre-approval letter from a lender one of your top priorities.

    NOT TAKING DTI SERIOUSLY

    DTI stands for debt-to-income ratio. Its one of the very first things your lender will investigate when assessing your mortgage borrowing power. So, if youre planning to buy a home in the near future, do not pick up any new debts, especially unaffordable ones. Many buyers have made the mistake of going out and finding their dream home while also deciding to purchase a car. When the lender finds out you have done this you could be facing the fact you might not get the loan. So be smart with your finances when purchasing a home.

    NOT WORKING WITH LENDERS IN PERSON

    Starting your search for mortgage information online is okay. But, this should not be your last stop when shopping for mortgages. You need to personally work with a lender in order to get a full line of mortgage options, such as FHA loans and VA loans, as well as any local first time buyers programs that may exist. Do your home work on choosing a lender to work with. Not every lender has the same rates or even the same loan programs. Ask around with family, friends and your Realtor on who they would recommend to work with for financing.

    NOT GETTING A HOME INSPECTION

    Finding the perfect home can be very exciting. But, dont get too carried away. You still need to protect yourself by investing wisely. Oftentimes, first time home buyers try to cut costs by skipping the home inspection. Having a home inspection is for your own protection. There are lots of qualified home inspectors that a Realtor can recommend that will look for defects in the property. Not having the home inspected by a professional could result in thousands of dollars worth of defect damages later on down the line. This could easily become a first time buyers nightmare, just to save around $500. Here are some examples ofhome inspectionsproblems thatwould be real problematic to deal with after purchasing a home. Not only could they be expensive to remedy but also affect your health and well being.

    Skipping home inspections has become quite common in areas where the market is booming as buyers are doing everything they can to win some of the crazy bidding wars that are taking place. Unless you are 100 percent certain there are no major defects in the property, skipping a home inspection is a big mistake!

    NOT LEAVING NEGATIVE EMOTIONS AT THE DOOR

    The current market trends are leading to sellers receiving multiple offers on their homes. Not all of them allow the highest bid to make the final decision. Oftentimes, sellers will choose the buyer who seems to have the most love for the property. Smart buyers are even using emotion as a tool to win over the seller. Hand written letters are delivered by the buyers agent explaining how much the buyer loves the property and the years of enjoyment they can see ahead with their family. Buyers who come in complaining, adding unreasonable terms into an offer and having a generally negative attitude tend to get passed over. When buyers do this they make it easy for a seller tochoose the best real estate offerfor them!

    NOT UNDERSTANDING HOW HOME VALUE APPRECIATION WORKS

    Many first time home buyers invest their entire lifes savings into buying a home. These buyers hope to make a hefty profit on the propertys appreciation within just a few years. But, a home is not a very liquid investment. It will take time to appreciate. So, be sure youre investing for the long haul as a first time buyer. If the last ten years is any indicator you should be buying a home for the use and enjoyment. A place of shelter for you and your family. Not your ticket to paradise and ultimate wealth. More than likely those days are gone for a while.

    OTHER EXCELLENT FIRST TIME HOME BUYER ARTICLESHow to buy your 1st housevia Great Colorado Homes.Why it is important to befiscally responsible when buy a firsthomeboyVeterans United.

    Use these additional resources to make sound decisions when buying your first home. Research and education provides a great way to go in with your eyes wide open when purchasing your first home.

    Jensen and Company.

  • Looking to buy a home? Here are five essential tips for making the process as smooth as possible.

    Get your finances in order.

    Start by getting a full picture of your credit. Obtain copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you find. Next, find a suitable lender and get pre-approved for a loan. This will put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house.

    Find a house you can afford.

    As with engagement rings, theres a general rule of thumb when it comes to buying a home: two-and-a-half times your annual salary. There are also a number of tools and calculators online that can help you understand how your income, debt, and expenses affect what you can afford. Dont forget, too, that there are lots of considerations beyond the sticker price, including property taxes, energy costs, etc.

    Hire a professional.

    While the Internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home listings and resources, many aspects of the buying process require a level of expertise you cant pick up from surfing the web. Thats why youre better off using a professional agent than going it alone. If possible, recruit an exclusive buyer agent, who will have your interests at heart and can help you with strategies during the bidding process.

    Do your homework.

    Before making a bid, do some research to determine the state of the market at large. Is it more favorable for sellers or buyers? Next, look at sales trends of similar homes in the area or neighborhood. Look at prices for the last few months. Come up with an asking price thats competitive, but also realistic. Otherwise, you may end up ticking off your seller.

    Think long term.

    Obviously, you shouldnt buy unless youre sure youll be staying put for at least a few years. Beyond that, you should buy in a neighborhood with good schools. Whether you have children or not, this will have an impact on your new homes resale value down the line. When it comes to the house itself, you should hire your own home inspector, who can point out potential problems that could require costly repairs in the future.

    Search here for your Dream Home:Click Here

  • If youre shopping for a home, odds are you should be shopping for a home loan as welland these days,its by no means a one-mortgage-fits-all model.

    Where you live, how long you plan to stay put, and other variables can make certain home loans better suited to your circumstances, and choosing wisely could save you a bundle on your down payment, fees, and interest.

    To learn about all your options, check out these common types of home loans and whom they're suited for, so you can make the right choice.

    The most common type of loan, a fixed-rate loan prescribes single interest rate and monthly payment for the life of the loan, which is typically 15 or 30 years.

    Fixed-rate loan

    The most common type of loan, a fixed-rate loan prescribes asingle interest rateand monthly paymentfor the life of the loan, which is typically 15 or 30 years.

    Right for:

    Homeowners who crave predictability and aren't going anywhere soon. You payX amount forY yearsand thats the end. The rise and fall of interest rates (like the nationwide increase that followed theFeds action inDecember) won't change the terms of your loan,so you'll always know what to expect. That said, theyre best for people who plan to stay in their home for at least a good chunk of the life of their loan; if you think youll move fairly soon, you may want to consider the next option.

    Adjustable-rate mortgage

    ARM loans offer interest rates typically lower than you'd get with a fixed-rateloaner a period of time such as five or 10 years. But after that, yourinterest rates (and payments) will adjust, typically once a year, roughly corresponding to current interest rates. So if interest rates shoot up, so do your monthly payments; if they plummet, youll pay less.

    Right for:

    Home buyers with lower credit scores. Sincepeople with poor credit typicallycant get good rates on fixed-rate loans, an ARM can nudgethose interest rates down enough to put homeownership within easier reach. These loans are also great for people who plan to move and sell their home before their fixed-rate period is up and their rates start vacillating.

    FHA loan

    While typical loans require a down payment of 20% of the purchase price of your home, witha Federal Housing Administration loan, you canput down as little as 3.5%.

    Right for:

    Home buyers with meager savings for a down payment. These loans come with several caveats. First, most loans are limited to $417,000 anddont providemuch flexibility:Ratesare typicallyfixed, with either 15- or 30-year terms. Buyers are also required to paymortgage insuranceeitherupfront or over the life of the loan, which hovers around 1% of the cost of your loan.

    VA loan

    If youve served in the United States military, a Veterans Affairsloan can be an excellent alternative to a traditional mortgage.If you qualify, you can score a sweet home with no money down and no mortgage insurance requirements.

    Right for:

    Veterans who've served90 days consecutively during wartime, 180 during peacetime, or six years in the reserves.That said, the VA has strict requirements on the type of home you can purchase: It must be your primary residence, and it must meet minimum property requirements (that is, no fixer-uppers allowed).

    USDA loan

    USDA Rural Development loans are designed for families in rural areas.The government finances 100% of the home price in other words, no down payment necessary and offers discounted interest rates to boot.

    Right for:

    Families in rural areas who are struggling financially. These loans are designed to put homeownership in their grasp.The catch? Yourdebt load cannotexceed yourincome by more than 41%,and, like the FHA loan, you will be required to purchase mortgage insurance.

    Bridge loan

    Also known as a gap loan or repeat financing, a bridge loan is an excellent option if youre purchasing a home before selling your previous residence. Lenders will wrap your current and new mortgage into one payment; once your home is sold, you pay off that mortgage and refinance.

    Right for:

    Homeowners with excellent credit and a low debt-to-income ratio, and who don't need to finance more than 80% of the two homes combined value. Meet those requirements, and this can be a simple way of transitioning between two houses without having a melt down financially or emotionally in the process.

    Written by: Jamie Wiehe
  • How Much Does It Cost To Rent Vs. Buy A House?

    Are you trying to decide whether you should rent or buy your home?

    One important factor to consider is cost. But with so many variables entering the equation, it can be daunting to sit down and calculate everything by hand.

    This rent vs. buy calculator makes the math easy so you can determine the total estimated cost of renting vs. buying. Simply provide the required inputs, compute your totals, and print out a detailed report!

    As powerful as this renting versus buying calculator is, there are more factors to consider besides just financial cost.

    There are many advantages and disadvantages to both renting and buying. Heres what you need to know to make a smart decision. . . .

    Advantages And Disadvantages Of Renting

    Depending on your life situation, financial status, and tolerance level, renting a house might be the best option for you. Here are some factors to consider when renting a home.

    Advantages Of Renting:

    Youre free from the hassle of maintenance problems. The landlord is responsible for all maintenance including appliances and miscellaneous repairs. No muss, no fuss.Rental payments might be less than mortgage payments. You wont have to worry about paying property taxes and other incidental costs of owning a house. Changes in the price of housing wont affect you as much thus lowering your risk in the event of another housing decline.You can easily move. When you own a home, you might need to sell it before you can afford to move. When youre renting you can just pick up and go giving your life increased flexibility. You arent tied down by a mortgage.

    Disadvantages Of Renting:

    Some landlords will not allow you to make minor alterations without consulting them first. This could include hanging pictures, and other fixtures that would leave holes in the walls. This make it hard to ever truly feel at home.Some landlords dont pay much attention to concerns regarding repairs and maintenance. It might be difficult to get your landlord to take action quickly, if at all, when something goes wrong.Rentals arent investments. Rent payments never build equity but they can for your landlord. This means you are on an endless treadmill of eternal rent payments as long as you choose not to own.

    Lets switch gears for a moment and take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of buying a house.

    Advantages And Disadvantages Of Buying A House

    Home ownership is not for everyone, but there are some financial and emotional advantages to consider . . . .

    Advantages Of Buying A House:

    The house will be all yours once you pay off the mortgage. Also, the odds greatly favor that you will earn some capital gains if you remain in the house long-term. Neither of these will occur as long as you rent.Youll have the option to rent the house out should to decide to move. Rental earnings can be used to pay the mortgage.You can pay off your home and stop making monthly payments. Once the mortgage is paid then your housing costs will fall dramatically thus lowering your risk long-term while increasing your equity.You have the freedom to remodel and improve your home whenever you want. No landlords to stop your creative expression!

    Disadvantages of Buying A House:

    Its a long-term financial commitment. Its expensive to buy and sell real estate thus only making financial sense if you have a long-term perspective.It can be stressful to maintain a house. It takes time and money to complete repairs and maintenance. Some people dont want to be bothered.Theres no guarantee that the value of your house will increase. Theres a chance that you may even incur losses if youre forced to sell it due to relocation or financial constraints.Youll need to shell out a lot of money for the down payment, broker fees, and closing costs. The Rent vs. Buy Calculator will take these costs into account and show you which is the best deal.Final Thoughts

    Its important to notice how this Rent vs. Buy Calculator asks you the length of time youll stay in the house.

    This is a critically important input that dramatically impacts your decision because the costs of owning a home change over time. Dont make the mistake of looking at monthly payments alone. Its important to consider future expenses and changing housing needs.

    Traditional wisdom advised to buy because homes are an investment. But remember, these investments can go down in value as evidenced by the 2008-2009 housing collapse in the United States. Nothing is certain.

    This is why its crucial to take a birds-eye view of your situation. Why are you moving? What costs are involved? Is this temporary or long-term? How much can you afford? How much do utilities cost? Will you have a longer or shorter commute to work?

    The Rent vs. Buy Calculator will make the financial portion of this decision easy by weighing all the costs into a complete analysis. When coupled with your personal needs as discussed above, it will help you make a smart decision you can live with.

  • Finding the right home to buy is a process. The typical home buyer looks at around 10 homes before making an offer. If you are on your 30th home and still cant find something that you like, perhaps you are paying attention to the wrong features when you are viewing homes. Below are a list of things that you SHOULD NOT dwell on when buying a home and what you need to consider instead.

    Paint Color

    Paint colors, inside and out, can always be changed! Instead of seeing unappealing paint colors as a turn-off, look at them as an opportunity personalize the home to your liking once you move in by repainting. If youre concerned with the amount of work that painting involves, you should know that painting is an inexpensive project to hire out

    *Instead of paint color, pay attention to a homes architectural details.

    Furniture

    Never pay attention to the furniture in a home for sale because more than likely, itll be leaving with the home sellers! And even if the furniture comes with the home, it can easily be sold at a garage sale or donated to a local charity, many of which offer free pick-up.

    *Instead of the sellers furniture, pay attention to the size and layout of each room.

    Window Treatments

    Window treatments do typically stay with the home, but they are so easy to swap out that they should never be considered when purchasing a home. For most new homeowners, its exciting to change out window treatments to fit their design preference.

    *Instead of window treatments, pay attention to the energy efficiency of the windows and the light they allow into the home.

    Light Fixtures

    Light fixtures also stay with the home, but as with window treatments, swapping them out with something new is a simple DIY task. Updating light fixtures is an easy way to personalize the home to your taste. If the light fixtures that you are removing are in good condition, you can probably even get a few bucks for them by listing them on Craigslist!

    *Instead of light fixtures, pay attention to the electrical wiring and notice if rooms have the capability for overhead lighting.

    Fencing

    Most parents and pet owners desire homes with fenced in yards. They offer privacy and security and are certainly nice to have! But never rule out a home if it doesnt have a fence because they are relatively easy and inexpensive to install yourself.

    *Instead of fencing, pay attention to other details of the yard such as size and slope.

    by:http://www.ferrispropertygroup.com/blog/5-things-not-dwell-buying-home/

  • So you made an offer, it was accepted, and now your next task is to have the home inspected prior to closing. More often than not, your agent may have made your offer contingent on a clean home inspection.

    This contingency allows you to renegotiate the price paid for the home, ask the sellers to cover repairs, or even, in some cases, walk away. Your agent can advise you on the best course of action once the report is filed.

    How to Choose an Inspector

    Your agent will most likely have a short list of inspectors that they have worked with in the past that they can recommend to you. Realtor.com suggests that you consider the following 5 areas when choosing the right home inspector for you:

    Qualifications find out whats included in your inspection & if the age or location of your home may warrant specific certifications or specialties.Sample Reports ask for a sample inspection report so you can review how thoroughly they will be inspecting your dream home. The more detailed the report, the better in most cases.References do your homework ask for phone numbers and names of past clients that you can call to ask about their experience.Memberships Not all inspectors belong to a national or state association of home inspectors, and membership in one of these groups should not be the only way to evaluate your choice. Membership in one of these organizations often means that there is continued training and education provided.Errors & Omission Insurance Find out what the liability of the inspector or inspection company is once the inspection is over. The inspector is only human after all, and it is possible that they might miss something they should have seen.

    Ask your inspector if its ok for you to tag along during the inspection, that way they can point out anything that should be addressed or fixed.

    Dont be surprised to see your inspector climbing on the roof, crawling around in the attic, and on the floors. The job of the inspector is to protect your investment and find any issues with the home, including but not limited to: the roof, plumbing, electrical components, appliances, heating & air conditioning systems, ventilation, windows, the fireplace & chimney, the foundation and so much more!

    Bottom Line

    They say ignorance is bliss, but not when investing your hard-earned money in a home of your own. Work with a professional you can trust to give you the most information possible about your new home so that you can make the most educated decision about your purchase.

  • Fannie Maes article, What Consumers (Dont) Know About Mortgage Qualification Criteria, revealed that only 5 to 16 percent of respondents know the correct ranges for key mortgage qualification criteria.

    Myth #1: I Need a 20% Down Payment

    Fannie Maessurvey revealed that consumers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the report,76% of Americans either dont know (40%) or are misinformed (36%) about the minimum down payment required.

    Many believe that they need at least 20% down to buy their dream home, but many programs actually let buyers put down as little as 3%.

    Below are the results of a Digital Risk survey of Millennials who recently purchased a home.

    As you can see, 64.2% were able to purchase their home by putting down less than 20%, with 43.8% putting down less than 10%!

    Myth #2: I need a 780 FICO Score or Higher to Buy

    The survey revealed that 59% of Americans either dont know (54%) or are misinformed (5%) about what FICO score is necessary to qualify.

    Many Americans believe a good credit score is 780 or higher.

    To help debunk this myth, lets take a look at Ellie MaeslatestOrigination Insight Report, which focuses on recently closed (approved) loans. As you can see below, 54.7% of approved mortgages had a credit score of 600-749.

    Bottom Line

    Whether buying your first home or moving up to your dream home, knowing your options will make the mortgage process easier. Your dream home may already be within your reach.

    by on January 30, 2017 in Down Payments,

  • So youve been searching for that perfect house to call a home, and you finally found one! The price is right, and in such a competitive market that you want to make sure you make a good offer so that you can guarantee your dream of making this house yours comes true!

    Freddie Maccovered4 Tips for Making an Offerin their latestExecutive Perspective. Here are the 4 Tips they covered along with some additional information for your consideration:

    1. Understand How Much You Can Afford

    While it's not nearly as fun as house hunting, fully understanding your finances is critical in making an offer.

    This tip or step really should take place before you start your home search process.

    As weve mentionedbefore, getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and will allow you to make your offer with the confidence of knowing that you have already been approved for a mortgage for that amount. You will also need to know if you are prepared to make any repairs that may need to be made to the house (ex: new roof, new furnace).

    2. Act Fast

    Even though there are fewer investors, the inventory of homes for sale is also low and competition for housing continues to heat up in many parts of the country.

    According to the latestExisting Home Sales Report, the inventory of homes for sale is currently at a 3.6-month supply; This is well below the 6-month supply that is needed for anormal market. Buyer demand has continued to outpace the supply of homes for sale, causing buyers to compete with each other for their dream homes.

    Make sure that as soon as you decide that you want to make an offer, you work with your agent to present it as soon as possible.

    3. Make a Solid Offer

    Freddie Macoffers this advice to help make your offer the strongest it can be:

    Your strongest offer will be comparable with other sales and listings in the neighborhood. A licensed real estate agent active in the neighborhoods you are considering will be instrumental in helping you put in a solid offer based on their experience and other key considerations such as recent sales of similar homes, the condition of the house and what you can afford.

    Consider ways of making your offer stand out! Many buyers write apersonal letter to the sellerletting them know how much they would love to be the new homeowners. Your agent will be able to help you figure out if there are any other ways your offer could stand out above the rest.

    4. Be Prepared to Negotiate

    It's likely that you'll get at least one counteroffer from the sellers so be prepared. The two things most likely to be negotiated are the selling price and closing date. Given that, you'll be glad you did your homework first to understand how much you can afford.

    Your agent will also be key in the negotiation process, giving you guidance on the counteroffer and making sure that the agreed-to contract terms are met.

    If your offer is approved,Freddie Macurges you toalways get an independent home inspection, so you know the true condition of the home. If the inspection uncovers undisclosed problems or issues, you can typically re-negotiate the terms or cancel the contract.

    Bottom Line

    Whether buying your first home or your fifth, having a local professional on your side who is an expert in their market is your best bet to make sure the process goes smoothly. Happy House Hunting!

    byonJanuary 31, 2017inFirst Time Home Buyers,

  • Buying your first home conjures up all kinds of warm and fuzzy emotions: pride, joy, contentment. But before you get to the good stuff, youve got to cobble together a down payment, a daunting sum if you follow the textbook advice to squirrel away 20% of a homes cost.

    Here are five creative ways to build your down-payment nest egg faster than you may have ever imagined.

    1. Crowdsource Your Dream Home

    You may have heard of people using sites like Kickstarter to fund creative projects like short films and concert tours. Well, who says you cant crowdsource your first home? Forget the traditional registry, the fine china, and the 16-speed blender. Use sites likeFeather the NestandHatch My Houseto raise your down payment. Hatch My House says its helped Americans raise more than $2 million for down payments.

    2. Ask the Seller to Help (Really!)

    When sellers want to a get a deal done quickly, they might be willing to assist buyers with the closing costs. Fewer closing costs = more money you can apply toward your deposit.

    Theyre called seller concessions, says Ray Rodriguez, regional mortgage sales manager for the New York metro area at TD Bank. Talk with your real estate agent. She might help you negotiate for something like 2% of the overall sales price in concessions to help with the closing costs.

    There are limits on concessions depending on the type of mortgage you get. For FHA mortgages, the cap is 6% of the sale price. For Fannie Mae-guaranteed loans, the caps vary between 3% and 9%, depending on the ratio between how much you put down and the amount you finance. Individual banks have varying caps on concessions.

    No matter where they net out, concessions must be part of the purchase contract.

    3. Look into Government Options

    The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, offers a number of homeownership programs, including assistance with down payment and closing costs. These are typically available for people who meet particular income or location requirements. HUD has a list oflinks bystatethat direct you to the appropriate page for information about your state.

    HUD offers help based onprofessionas well. If youre a law enforcement officer, firefighter, teacher, or EMT, you may be eligible under itsGood Neighbor Next Door Sales Programfor a 50% discount on a houses HUD-appraised value in revitalization areas. Those areas are designated by Congress for homeownership opportunities. And if you qualify for an FHA-insured mortgage under this program, the down payment is only $100; you can even finance the closing costs.

    For veterans, theVAwill guarantee part of a home loan through commercial lenders. Often, theres no down payment or private mortgage insurance required, and the program helps borrowers secure a competitive interest rate.

    Some cities also offer homeownership help. The city of Hartford has the HouseHartford Program that gives down payment assistance and closing cost assistance, says Matthew Carbray, a certified financial planner with Ridgeline Financial Partners and Carbray Staunton Financial Planners in Avon, Conn. The program partners with lenders, real estate attorneys, and homebuyer counseling agencies and has helped 1,200 low-income families.

    4. Check with Your Employer

    Employer AssistedHousing (EAH) programs help connect low- to moderate-income workers with down payment assistance through their employer. In Pennsylvania, if you work for a participating EAH employer, you can apply for a loan of up to $8,000 for down payment and closing cost assistance. The loan is interest-free and borrowers have 10 years to pay it back.

    Washington University in St. Louis offers forgivable loans to qualified employees who want to purchase housing in specific city neighborhoods. University employees receive the lesser of 5% of the purchase price or $6,000 toward down payment or closing costs.

    Ask the human resources or benefits personnel at your employer if the company is part of an EAH program.

    5. Take Advantage of Special Lender Programs

    Finally, many lenders offer programs to help people buy a home with a small down payment. I would say that the biggest misconception [of homebuying] is that you need 20% for the down paymentofa house, says Rodriguez. There are a lot of programs out there that need a total of 3% or 3.5% down.

    FHA mortgages, for example, can require as little as 3.5%. But bear in mind that there are both upfront and monthly mortgage insurance payments. The mortgage insurance could add another $300 to your monthly mortgage payment, Rodriguez says.

    Some lender programs go even further. TD Bank, for example, offers a 3% down payment with no mortgage insurance program, and other banks may have similar offerings. Check with your regional bank, Rodriguez says. Maybe they have their own first-time buyer program.

    Not so daunting after all, is it? Theres actually a lot of help available to many first-time buyers who want to achieve their homeownership dreams. All you need to do is a little research and start peeking at those home listings!

    Made Possibleby REALTORS

  • The National Association of Realtors recently released a study titled 'Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing. The study confirmed a long-standing belief of most Americans:

    Owning a home embodies the promise of individual autonomy and is the aspiration of most American households. Homeownership allows households to accumulate wealth and social status, and is the basis for a number of positive social, economic, family and civic outcomes.

    Today, we want to cover the section of the report that quoted several studies concentrating on the impact homeownership has on educational achievement. Here are some of the major findings on this issue revealed in the report:

    *The decision to stay in school by teenage students is higher for those raised by home-owning parents compared to those in renter households.*Parental homeownership in low-income neighborhoods has a positive impact on high school graduation.*Though homeownership raises educational outcomes for children, neighborhood stability may have further enhanced the positive outcome.*Children of homeowners tend to have higher levels of achievement in math and reading and fewer behavioral problems.*Educational opportunities are more prevalent in neighborhoods with high rates of homeownership and community involvement.*The average child of homeowners is significantly more likely to achieve a higher level of education and, thereby, a higher level of earnings.Bottom Line

    People often talk about the financial benefits of homeownership. As we can see, there are also social benefits of owning your own home.

  • HUD Homes and Programs

    A HUD home is a 1-to-4 unit residential property acquired by HUD as a result of a foreclosure action on an

    FHA-insured mortgage. HUD becomes the property owner and offers it for sale to recover the loss on the foreclosure claim.

    HUD offers many programs to help buyers purchase the home of their dreams. These include programs such as the Good Neighbor Next Door, nonprofit Orginazations, and the Dollar Homes program.

    Call our office today and see how we can help you take advantage of HUD special programs! 909-552-3131. Visit HomesbyHajia.com for HUD homes listed.

    Also visithttp://www.hudhomestore.comto search for HUD Homes and to place a bid.