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Most homebuyers today are reliant on the availability of mortgages to purchase a property in the U.S. For years, homebuyers were required to place a minimum of 5% down on a conventional loan. However, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) and the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) recently changed requirements where some home loans now offer 97% financing. This change now allows buyers to put down as little as 3% to purchase a property, making it even easier to buy a home in the U.S. 

  • First-time homebuyers who are currently considering their loan options may want to consider a conventional mortgage, as they are an excellent fit for many reasons. Continue reading for a brief overview of convention mortgages and the role they play in the housing market today.

Conventional mortgage defined:

A conventional mortgage refers to a home loan in which is not secured by a federal government entity like the FHA, VA, USDA. However, is available through a private lender such as credit unions, banks, or mortgage companies. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the two government-sponsored enterprises that can guarantee these types of mortgages. 

What documentation do you need?

In order to obtain a conventional mortgage, a homebuyer needs a variety of documents which includes (and is not limited to):

Proof of income- pay stubs and federal tax returns

Employment Verification- pay stubs (may also contact the employer to verify employment and salary)

Assets- bank and account statements

Other- social security number, driver’s license or state ID card

Credit scores required for conventional home loans

While credit score requirements vary from every lender, 620 is generally the score a buyer needs to obtain a conventional loan. If you are looking to receive the best possible rates, you should strive for a credit score in the mid 700s.

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How would you rate your knowledge of real estate terminology? Most first-time homebuyers have limited knowledge of important real estate terms associated with purchasing a home. Keep reading for a quick overview of the term amortization and learn more about its integral role in the real estate industry today.

What is Amortization?

Many homebuyers in the U.S are unable to pay for a home up front in cash. As such, a majority of homebuyers require a loan. In real estate terminology, this loan is known as a mortgage. The schedule of a homeowners monthly mortgage payments is defined as amortization. This term encompasses the breakdown of which portions of a monthly payment are put towards interest and which are intended for the principal amount. When a homebuyer first receives a loan, they will notice that their monthly payment is applied mostly towards interest on the home. With this, only a small percentage is applied to the principal balance. As the homeowner continues to pay their monthly mortgage payments over time, this portion will decrease and a larger portion of the payment will apply to the remaining balance owed of the property. An amortized loan is entirely paid off when a loan term comes to a close.

Do other types of loans use amortization?

Many types of loans use an amortization schedule detailing payments on a loan. Such load includes auto loans and personal loans that people often receive from banks or third-party lenders.

What are the benefits of amortization?

In most circumstances, both the borrower and the lender benefit from amortizing loan. The borrower primarily benefits from making their payments on time each month, as this prevents both negative impacts against their credit and additional charges. Lenders benefit from receiving a reliable schedule of payments, including principal and interest payments, each month.

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To purchase a home in the United States, you generally need to put down a percentage of the home. This fee is known as the down payment. While many real estate professionals believe you should try to put down around 20% of the total purchase price, there are programs available today which allow people to purchase a home for significantly less, sometimes as little as 3% down. In addition to the down payment, a home buyer will also be faced with closing costs which typically range between 2% to 5% of the purchase price. These fees are paid at the time of the real estate transaction. 

If you are a first-time homebuyer, it is crucial to be aware of closing costs, as such costs could move a home out of your price range. In many cases, certain fees are negotiable and you can always compare quotes between lenders until you are satisfied with the fees attached to the loan. Closing costs will vary drastically based on the home location as well as the type of loan. Keep reading and discover just a few examples of fees that are due when a buyer closes on their mortgage.

Credit Report

Your credit score plays an integral role in determining the interest rate a buyer will get on their home loan. Fees for credit reports are not uncommon, as there is sometimes a cost to have a credit report pulled for a potential buyer to obtain their credit score and history.

Homeowners’ Insurance

In many cases, the first year of insurance is paid at closing. Homeowners’ Insurance will cover any potential damage to the home. 

Origination Fee

The lender will often charge a loan processing fee to cover their administrative costs. In most cases, it is approximately 1% of the total loan cost.

Property Taxes

You will be taxed from your closing date until the end of the tax year at a prorated rate. Property taxes vary by the location of your home.

Prepaid Interest

In many cases, the lender will request the home buyer to cover the cost of the interest they accrue from their closing date until their first payment.

Underwriting Fee 

This fee covers the cost of evaluating a loan application, which determines whether or not to approve a lender for the loan.

Home Inspection

A home inspection will help to both verify the current condition of the home and to check for any necessary home repairs before the homeowner closes on the property.

Can a homebuyer avoid paying closing costs?

A homebuyer may be able to avoid closing costs. as it is sometimes possible to avoid upfront fees on a loan by choosing a no-closing cost mortgage. In some cases, the lender may charge you a higher interest rate on the loan as a result or they could include the closed mortgage fees on the total mortgage. 

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In real estate, there are many terms and expressions exchanged between experienced industry professionals. For individuals who are unfamiliar with this industry language, these words and phrases may seem entirely foreign. With this in mind, terms such as adjustable-rate and fixed-rate mortgages may also seem confusing as well. To develop a more thorough understanding of these words as industry concepts, consider the brief overview below.

Conventional loans

In understanding the distinction between adjustable-rate and fixed-rate mortgages, you must first understand the concept of conventional loans. If you want a conventional home loan, you can either choose between the fixed-rate and the adjustable-rate mortgage.

Fixed-rate mortgages are more popular out of the two options because the interest rate remains the same throughout the duration of the loan, which provides a homeowner peace of mind because of its predictability. Since it's the same figure each month, it is easier to budget. Conversely, in an adjustable-rate mortgage, the interest rate is applied to the outstanding balance and will vary throughout the loan in intervals of five, seven or ten.

Fixed-rate mortgage

Is a fixed-rate mortgage right for you?

Pros

-Easy to understand

-Makes it easy to manage finances

-Payments remain the same regardless of the market

Cons

-They are the same for all lenders

-May cost more in interest throughout the loan

-Have to pay the same rate even if interest rates decrease

Adjustable-rate mortgage

Is an adjustable-rate mortgage right for you?

Pros

-A cheaper option for borrowers who plan to move in the foreseeable future

-Ability to take advantage of decreased rates without needing to refinance

-Low-interest rates in the early stages of the loan

Cons

-More difficult to understand than fixed-rate mortgages

-Rates are unpredictable throughout the loan

Which one is best for you?

Do you plan on staying in your home for several years? If so, a fixed-rate mortgage is probably the better option for you. It will provide you with a stable bill every month, and you will not have to worry about rising rates from unfavorable market conditions. Another important consideration when trying to decide between the two is the current state of interest rates. For instance, if the rates are on the higher side, Adjustable-rate mortgages can be an excellent option for a homeowner. This is because they allow borrowers to take advantage of lower interest rates in the early stages of the loan.

 

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Millions of homes hit the market every single day. For this reason, real estate is a highly competitive industry in which sellers must use a variety of marketing tactics to reach target audiences. With this, sellers must utilize high-quality images to showcase the best features of a property and increase the appeal of a home to a potential buyer. In doing so, high-quality real estate photography becomes a crucial tool for buyers and sellers alike on the market.

Eliminate visible clutter

A staged home should appear to be clean with minimal clutter throughout. Over the years, a typical homeowner may accumulate clutter throughout various rooms of their home. Whether this clutter takes the form of small belongings in the bedrooms or excessive decorative pieces in the living room, it is crucial to be mindful of visible clutter when it is time to photograph the home. In many cases, homeowners are unaware of how much clutter they have until it is time to stage their home. Try to keep surfaces like countertops, tables, and desk as clear as possible. The more items that you have in a room, the less spacious it will appear in pictures.

Use a professional photographer

Many people see it as an unnecessary expense. However, an experienced professional photographer will make a difference in your ability to market your home. Today, many real estate agents rely on their smartphones to take pictures of properties. If you are looking to market your home effectively, hire a professional with the tools and experience to ensure the job is done right.

Plan around the weather

Weather is a crucial factor in real estate photography. Pictures captured on a rainy or cloudy day can cause your photos to look muddled. While you cannot control the weather, you can plan around it or hire a professional photographer who knows how to handle unfavorable weather conditions.

Incorporate color

A splash of color can make your real estate photography pop. While it is true that neutral colors will appeal to more buyers, a few pops of color can make for more enticing pictures. Consider incorporating colorful artwork, pillows, bowls of fruit, flowers, etc.

Avoid over-editing

While it can be beneficial to retouch your real estate photographs, you don’t want to go overboard. Although it can be sometimes beneficial to alter the lighting, you do not want to make too many changes that would cause a scene to look unrealistic.


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Are you one of the many who is on the fence about purchasing a home? While there are risks involved in buying a home, there are also several advantages that often go unrecognized. Continue reading and discover a few significant benefits of purchasing a home in 2019.

Renting is significantly more expensive

Many people are scared away at the thought of homeownership because it requires a lot of money upfront. Many people advise making a downpayment of the home’s value. However, it is important to keep in mind that it is significantly more expensive to rent in the long run. According to Trulia, owning your home is 38% cheaper on average than renting nationally. While you still have to come up with a sizeable downpayment, you will pay far less in the long run by choosing to buy instead of rent.

Provides tax deductions

Many people are unaware that purchasing a home will provide them with significant tax deductions. By owning a home, you may be able to reduce the amount you pay each year in income taxes. Property tax payments and mortgage interest may be deducted from your federal taxes.

It is a long-term investment

While home prices are often unpredictable, it is important to see homeownership as an investment. While there is no guarantee, owning your home can provide you a substantial return in the long run because your property may increase in value.

Strengthens your credit history

Lenders want to see that you are a trustworthy borrower. When you purchase a home and make your payments on time, you demonstrate that you a low-risk and are unlikely to default on your loan. A strong history will help you with any major purchases down the line, like buying a car.

Allows you to build equity

The equity in your home can be calculated by subtracting the amount of money you still owe on it from the current market value. Every time you make a mortgage payment, you reduce the amount you owe and increase your equity.

 

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