Amy Uliss' Blog
It may be tempting to purchase your first home without the help of a real estate agent. If you want to risk not having professional help to buy your first house, you can, but you’ll be leaving a lot of benefits on the table and assuming all the risks.
The Benefits of Using a Buyer's Agent
- Expert negotiations – Professional agents know the market, costs and what you’re looking for. They can combine the three, plus other variables, to create a formula for negotiating within both your price and comfort levels.
- Full disclosure – A real estate expert knows what to ask regarding disclosures about the property. They’ll ask for items you may not even think of because of their experience. It’s not that the seller is intent on deceiving you, often they don’t know what to disclose either.
- Neighborhood specialist – Some agents choose to represent buyers in specific neighborhoods and can tell them about local facts such as planned road construction or rezoning issues that might have an impact on your decision to buy there (both for and against).
- Closing costs – Your buyer’s agent fights for the best deal for you, the buyer. Relying solely on the seller’s agent could end up costing thousands in extra charges.
- Lender recommendations – An experienced buyer’s agent knows which lenders tend to close on time and which ones might drag out the process. If you’re closely timing a move, your agent can help you avoid being bogged down with a slow underwriting process. They’ll have recent experience with rates, terms, appraisals and comparable sales.
- Making the offer – Real estate purchase offers have a lot of forms and papers that cover all sorts of things from contingencies to mold and asbestos mitigation. Your agent knows the right forms and what needs to go into your offer to both protect you and give you the best chance of having your offer accepted.
- Inspection referrals – having a home inspection protects buyers from unexpected repairs and required renovations once the deal completes. Your agent knows reliable inspectors that look for basement seepage, dry rot, hidden mold, damaged roofs, sewer line issues and a host of other things. You might not think to check the chimney, but your inspector will, saving you from a potential house fire or other issues down the line. A failure in a major system such as electrical wiring, HVAC, or plumbing can wreck your budget if you don’t know about it.
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Proper hydration on moving day is paramount. Because without the proper hydration, your moving day team risks wearing down quickly. Perhaps even worse, moving day team members may feel exhausted as they lift large, heavy items – something that may prove to be disastrous.
Fortunately, there are many quick, easy ways to guarantee that your entire moving day team stays hydrated – here are three tips that you need to know.
1. Pick Up Lots of Beverages
Learn about your moving day team and the drinks they like – you'll be glad you did. If you learn your moving day team's drink preferences, you can pick up beverages that you'll know they'll enjoy on moving day.
When in doubt, it pays to purchase lots of water and sports drinks. These beverages help cleanse the body and will allow your moving team to maintain its energy levels throughout the day.
If possible, you may want to avoid purchasing caffeinated beverages as well. Caffeinated beverages may actually cause an individual to become dehydrated over time. Thus, you may want to provide only a limited amount of caffeinated beverages on moving day.
2. Store Your Drinks in a Cooler That Is Easy to Access
If your refrigerator has already been moved out of your house, there is no need to worry. Purchase a water cooler and lots of ice, and you can provide your moving team with cool, refreshing beverages at any time.
Keep this cooler in a central location and tell your moving team members exactly where they can find it. That way, if a moving team member starts to feel sluggish, he or she can stop, grab a drink and immediately start to revitalize the body.
3. Plan Plenty of Breaks
On moving day, give your moving team plenty of opportunities to stay hydrated. By doing so, you can reduce the risk of dropped items, injuries and other moving day problems.
Schedule at least one break per hour, with the break lasting a minimum of 10 minutes. Also, after a few hours, you may want to provide your moving team with an extended lunch break that gives all team members a chance to stop and grab a bite to eat.
If you need additional assistance planning for moving day, you may want to contact a professional moving company as well. This business hires courteous, professionally training moving specialists who will make it simple for you to take all of your belongings from Point A to Point B.
Lastly, a real estate agent may help you find the best moving companies in your area. This housing market professional can help you buy or sell a residence, as well as put you in touch with the top moving companies in any city or town, at any time.
Ready to transform an ordinary moving day into a successful one? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can guarantee that your entire team can stay hydrated as your moving day progresses.
We all know that buying a home is a significant decision that comes with a great deal of financial planning and preparation. However, few of us are taught the ins and outs of actually obtaining a mortgage to make your dream of homeownership come true.
Mortgages are a complicated business that is always changing, both with fluctuations in market rates and with policy decisions.
But, if you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future, it’s important to understand all of your options when it comes to mortgages.
In today’s post, we’re going to address the 20% down payment myth, where that number comes from, and what your options are when it comes to applying for a mortgage.
Where does the 20% down payment number come from?
For most people, 20% of a house is a serious amount of money that would take years to save up. If you’re a first-time homebuyer and don’t have any equity to use from selling another house, 20% may seem like an impossible amount to save within the time you want to buy a home. Fortunately, there are several ways to buy a home without having 20% in cash saved up.
But first, let’s understand where that number comes from.
Most mortgage lenders will want to ensure that lending to you is a safe investment of their money. They want to know that they’ll earn back what they’re spending. To do this, they use several methods.
First, they’ll check your credit history to see how often you pay your bills in time. Then, they’ll want proof if your income and financial stability. Finally, they’ll ask for either a down payment or a guarantee that you will pay them back. Here’s where that 20% comes in.
If you don’t have 20% of the mortgage amount saved for a down payment, you will typically have to pay something called private mortgage insurance. This is an extra monthly fee, on top of your mortgage payments with interest, that you pay to ensure the lender that they’re seeing a return on their investment.
Most homeowners put much less than 20% down
If you’re feeling bad about the amount of money you have saved for a down payment, don’t be! In fact, most first-time homebuyers put, on average, just 6% down on their first home.
Since first-time homeowners don’t have the benefit of equity they’ve accumulated by making payments on their previous mortgage, they often have to come up with down payments out of pocket.
Other options besides a 20% down payment
There are several ways to secure a mortgage without putting 20% down on the home. First, check to see if you are eligible for any loans that are guaranteed by the government. These can come from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), or the USDA single-family home program.
The third option is to take on private mortgage insurance until you’ve paid 20% of your mortgage payment.
Private mortgage insurance can be paid to an insurance company or to the federal government in the case of FHA loans, you can put down as low as 3.5%.
Between these three options, you should be able to find a mortgage that you can afford and one that will give you the best possible financial stability in the long-term.