First Time Home Buyers: Your Six Month Plan

First Time Home Buyers: Your Six Month Plan

Presented as a public service by Joe Peters of Coldwell Banker

 

First time home buyers who dip their newbie toes in the mortgage waters might soon find out there’s a lot more to know than originally thought. It is a brand new world with lots of new terms, people and businesses and it can be a bit overwhelming at first. Heck, even seasoned buyers can find the mortgage process quite a bit to handle sometimes. But for first timers, knowing ahead of time what to expect and when to expect it will make the process a smooth one.

Here’s what to do financially when you’ve decided to stop renting and start owning.

Month 1:

You’re still sort of in the exploratory phase but you’re still committed on buying your first home. Yet buying a home isn’t something you should do on your own, especially as it relates to financing. Know this, though- most every traditional mortgage company offers the same suite of home loan options. Mortgage lenders spend a lot of time and effort on marketing and loan officers live and die from referrals but both will try and differentiate themselves from everyone else. Typically the primary differences are experience in the industry and stellar customer service.

Month 2:

Now it’s time to get some referrals for financing. You can get them from your selected real estate agent, friends and family or your financial planner or CPA if you have one. Once you make your choice about where you’re going to get your first mortgage, you’ll then speak with your loan officer over the phone or at the place of business. This is the prequalification stage. After a relatively brief conversation about your income, current debt and employment, the loan officer will research current mortgage rates and provide you with an amount you can comfortably qualify for as well as a list of loans that meet your needs.

Month 3:

It’s getting closer. But now it’s time to submit a loan application to your loan officer. Most often this is done online but your loan officer might offer to come to your home or place of business and take the loan application face to face. You’ll sign a list of documents, most importantly your loan application and authorization forms allowing the lender to inquire about your employment and credit history. Your loan officer will electronically submit your application to an automated underwriting system which will, within a matter of moments, provide a list of items needed to get your loan to the full approval state. You will then have a preapproval letter in hand. It’s time to submit copies of your pay check stubs, bank statements and tax returns if needed.

Month 4:

Your loan officer told you not to make any sudden changes about your work, employment or make any relatively large purchases. Don’t go buy a car while your loan is in process, for example. You have your preapproval letter in hand so it’s time to get serious about finding your first home. This, of course, is done with your real estate agent. And I can’t stress this enough- do NOT try and look for a home and negotiate with the sellers about the price. Professional real estate agents are pros at negotiations and you’re already out of your league. Let your agent do the heavy lifting by finding some housing options in the areas you’d like to live. And, surprise, a buyer’s agent doesn’t cost you a dime.

Month 5:

By now you’ve likely looked at your fair share of homes and you may very well be in a position to make an offer. You should always keep in close contact with your loan officer as well. Interest rates move over time and it’s possible that rates have gone up which effectively lowers the amount you can qualify for. Conversely, rates may have gone down and your buying power received a boost.

Month 6:

You’ve found a home. Wheels begin to spin rather quickly after the contract has been signed. Your lender will need an appraisal and many lenders ask for money to pay for an appraisal upfront. Your loan will be reviewed one more time and any expired documentation will need to be updated. Credit documents such as a credit report, pay stubs and bank statements need to be no more than 30 days old when it’s time to fund the mortgage. Once your loan has received full approval and you’ve met all your loan conditions, loan papers are orders. At your closing, you will sign a host of closing documents and have your down payment (if needed) and closing cost money wired to the settlement agent. After signing, the lender does one more review of your file, making sure all the documents have been properly signed. You’re now a first time home owner.


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Homeowners Are Happy! Renters? Not So Much.

Homeowners Are Happy! Renters? Not So Much

Presented as a public service by Joe Peters of Coldwell Banker

When people talk about homeownership and the American Dream, much of the conversation revolves around the financial benefits of owning a home. However, two recent studies show that the non-financial benefits might be even more valuable.

In a recent survey, Bank of America asked homeowners: “Does owning a home make you happier than renting?” 93% of the respondents answered yes, while only 7% said no. The survey also revealed:

  • More than 80% said they wouldn’t go back to renting
  • 88% agreed that buying a home is the “best decision they have ever made
  • 79% believed owning a home has changed them for the better

Those surveyed talked about the “emotional equity” that is built through homeownership. The study says more than half of current homeowners define a home as a place to make memories, compared to 42% who view a home as a financial investment. Besides building wealth, the survey also showed that homeownership enhances quality of life:

  • 67% of current homeowners believed their relationships with family and loved ones have changed for the better since they bought a home
  • 78% are satisfied with the quality of their social life
  • 82% of homeowners said they were satisfied with the amount of time they spend on their hobbies and passions since purchasing a home
  • 75% of homeowners pursued new hobbies after buying a home

Homeowners seem to be very happy.

Renters Tell a Different Story…

According to the latest Zillow Housing Aspirations Report45% of renters regret renting rather than buying — more than five times the share of homeowners (8%) who regret buying instead of renting. Here are the four major reasons people regret renting, according to the report:

  • 52% regret not being able to build equity
  • 52% regret not being able to customize or improve their rentals
  • 50% regret that the rent is so high
  • 49% regret that they lack private outdoor space

These two studies prove that renting is just not the same as owning.

Bottom Line

There are both financial and non-financial benefits to homeownership. As good as the “financial equity” is, it doesn’t compare to the “emotional equity” gained through owning your own home.


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Don’t Fall into the Rental Trap

Don’t Fall into the Rental Trap

Presented as a public service by Joe Peters of Coldwell Banker

 

62% of renters indicate they believe they are losing money by renting- and rents only continue to increase. Don’t fall into the rental trap! If you’re currently renting, let’s get together to explore your homeownership options.


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5 Powerful Reasons to Own Instead of Rent

5 Powerful Reasons to Own Instead of Rent

Presented as a public service by Joe Peters of Coldwell Banker

Owning a home has great financial benefits.

In a recent research paper, Homeownership and the American Dream, Laurie S. Goodman and Christopher Mayer of the Urban Land Institute explained:

“Homeownership appears to help borrowers accumulate housing and nonhousing wealth in a variety of ways, with tax advantages, greater financial flexibility due to secured borrowing, built-in ‘default’ savings with mortgage amortization and nominally fixed payments, and the potential to lower home maintenance costs through sweat equity.”

Let’s breakdown 5 major financial benefits of homeownership:

1. Housing is typically the one leveraged investment available

Homeownership allows households to amplify any appreciation on the value of their homes by a leverage factor. A 20% down payment results in a leverage factor of five, meaning every percentage point rise in the value of your home is a 5% return on your equity. If you put down 10%, your leverage factor is 10.

Example: Let’s assume you purchased a $300,000 home and put down $60,000 (20%). If the house appreciates by $30,000, that is only a 10% increase in value but a 50% increase in equity.

2. You’re paying for housing whether you own or rent

Some argue that renting eliminates the cost of property taxes and home repairs. Every potential renter must realize that all the expenses the landlord incurs (property taxes, repairs, insurance, etc.) are baked into the rent payment already – along with a profit margin!!

3. Owning is usually a form of “forced savings”

Studies have shown that homeowners have a net worth that is 44X greater than that of a renter. As a matter of fact, it was recently estimated that a family buying an average priced home this past January could build more than $42,000 in family wealth over the next five years.

4. Owning is a hedge against inflation

House values and rents tend to go up at or higher than the rate of inflation. When you own, your home’s value will protect you from that inflation.

5. There are still substantial tax benefits to owning

We know that the new tax reform bill puts limits on some deductions on certain homes. However, in the research paper referenced above, the authors explain:

“…the mortgage interest deduction is not the main source of these gains; even if it were removed, homeowners would continue to benefit from a lack of taxation of imputed rent and capital gains.”

Bottom Line

From a financial standpoint, owning a home has always been and will always be better than renting.


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Renting or Owning, What Is Better for You?

Renting or Owning, What Is Better for You?

Presented as a public service by Joe Peters of Coldwell Banker

In a real estate market where home prices are rising, many have begun to reexamine the idea of buying a home, choosing instead, to rent for a while. But often, there is a dilemma: should you keep paying rent, knowing that rent is rising too, or should you lock in your housing cost and buy a home?

Let’s look at both scenarios and analyze the pros and cons of each:

Renting

With the housing market crash in 2008, many homeowners lost their homes and became renters. According to Iproperty Management, “the number of households renting their home … rose from 31.2% of households in 2006 to 36.6% in 2016”.

Some choose to rent because it is more convenient for their lifestyle. Those whose job requires frequent moves need the flexibility that a 6-12 month lease agreement gives them so they can move to their next assignment!

Many renters believe that renting is cheaper because they do not have to pay for maintenance and repairs. (Not true! Landlords work those expenses into your rent and other fees). Another reason many rent is that they feel like they cannot afford the down payment and closing costs required to buy a house, due to their inability to save much after paying their monthly expenses.

That can be true! Nearly 1 in 4 renters spend at least half their household income on rent. In 2017 the “severely” burdened renters’ rate was 24.7% with 24.9% reporting they were “moderately” burdened.

Renting also brings some financial disadvantages. Homeowners can take advantage of tax deductions that let them claim their property taxes and mortgage interest. Additionally, there is a big risk that your rent will go up every time you renew your lease, as we know the median asking rent has been increased steadily since 1988!Renting or Owning, What Is Better for You? | MyKCMOne of the major challenges with renting is that you don’t have a space to call your own. When you rent, you are paying your landlord’s mortgage, and therefore they are the beneficiaries of the equity gained from paying that mortgage.

Now let’s explore the other side: Homeownership

In the past, we have mentioned the many financial and non-financial benefits of becoming a homeowner. So, let’s just focus on the one big difference between renting and owning, the ability to lock in your housing cost!

Assuming you will have a fixed-rate mortgage, your costs are predictable! You will know exactly what your mortgage payment will be for the next 15-30 years. The homeownership rate in 2018 was 64.4%, and has been on the rise. Those households locked in their housing cost rather than wait for their landlord to raise their rent again!

What are the disadvantages of owning a home? Well, it is a long-term financial commitment! It is not easy to pack quickly and move. You will need time and good planning to do it in a short amount of time.

You need to save your money! Getting a mortgage requires a down payment, closing costs, and moving expenses. Again, that will require some savings and planning!

Unless you have a homeowner’s association (HOA) (and you pay an HOA fee) or a home warranty, you will be responsible for maintenance and taking care of the home. This may range anywhere from regular landscaping to major repairs.

Bottom Line

Like everything in life, there are pros and cons. What is better for you depends on your situation! If you are interested in becoming a homeowner and want to discuss the pros and cons, let’s get together to help you review your current situation and answer any questions you may have!

 

 

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