How to Be a Savvy Open House Guest

How to Be a Savvy Open House Guest

How to Be a Savvy Open House Guest

By: HouseLogic

Getting smart — about what to do, ask, and avoid — can move you ahead of the crowd.

Ah, the open house — a chance to wander through other people’s homes and imagine yourself knocking out walls and gut rehabbing their kitchens. This is what dreams are made of (or at least episodes of HGTV).

In all seriousness, going to open houses (and scheduled private showings) is one of the most exciting parts of the home-buying experience. Beyond the voyeuristic thrill, visiting houses allows you to assess things that you just can’t see online.

Anyone who has taken a super-posed selfie knows that a picture doesn’t always tell the whole truth. Professional listing photos can make small rooms look spacious, make dim rooms bright, and mask other flaws of a home — but you don’t know any of that until you actually see the house yourself.

You can tour houses at any point, but it can be helpful to first discuss your needs and wants with your partner (if you have one), do some online research, and talk with your agent and your lender. That way, you — and your agent — can take a targeted approach, which saves you time and can give you an edge over your buying competition.

So, before you start viewing, follow these tips to get prepared.

Make It Your Job to Know Which Houses Are “Open”

There are four ways to know when a house is available for viewing:

  • Ask your agent. He or she will have details on specific properties and can keep you informed of open houses that fit your criteria.
  • Use listing websites. A number of property sites let you search active listings for upcoming open houses. On realtor.com®, for instance, when searching for properties, scroll over the “Buy” tab and click the “Open Houses” link to see upcoming ones in your area.
  • Scroll social media. On Instagram, for example, you can search the hashtag #openhouse, or similar tags for your city (#openhousedallas, for example), to discover open houses. Many real estate agents and brokerages also post open house announcements on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter; find ones from your area and start following.
  • Drive around. Cruise through the neighborhoods you’re interested in — it’s a good way to get a sense of the area amenities — and look for open house signs.

And while you’re searching, be sure to jot down the location, time, and date for any open house that strikes your fancy. It will make it that much easier to plan times and routes for hitting as many homes as possible.

Get There Early (and Say Hi to the Neighbors)

If you’re seriously interested in a home, show up to the open house early. That way you’ll beat the rush, and the agent showing the house (AKA the host) will have time to focus on you and your questions.

And don’t be shy! Many home buyers hop from one open house to the next without talking to the listing agent. But chatting up the host can help you learn information that you wouldn’t get by only {{ start_tip 79 }}touring the premises.{{ end_tip }}

If a house seems like a match, take a walk around the neighborhood. Strike up conversations with the neighbors to get an insider’s perspective on what life in that community is really like — families, singles, what the vibe on the block is like, and whether the homeowner’s or condo association (if there is one) is easy to work with.

Ask Lots of Questions, But Avoid TMI

To make the most of your open house visits, have a list of questions in mind for the host — and take notes while you’re there, so you can keep track of what you learned.

At the same time, remember this: Your interaction with the host could be the beginning of negotiations with them. If you end up making an offer, you’ll use the information you’ve gathered to inform your bid. (They’ll also remember that you were an engaged yet courteous person, which can’t hurt your cause.)

Equally important: Oversharing could hurt your negotiating power.

Be careful about what information you share with the agent hosting the event. This person works for the seller — not you. The host can and will use stats they’ve gleaned about you to counter, reject, or accept an offer.

Keeping that in mind, here are eight questions you can ask a host to help determine whether a house is a good fit for you:

  1. Have you received any offers? If there are already bids on the table, you’ll have to move quickly if you want to make an offer. Keep in mind: Listing agents can’t disclose the amount of any other offers, though — only whether they exist.
  2. When does the seller want to move? Find out the seller’s timeline. If the seller is in a hurry (say, for a new job), they may be willing to accept an offer that’s below list price.
  3. When is the seller looking to close? Price isn’t the only factor for many home sellers. One way to strengthen your offer is to propose a settlement date that’s ideal for them. For example, a 30- to 45-day closing is standard in many markets, but the seller may want more time if they haven’t purchased their next home yet.
  4. Is the seller flexible on price? Most listing agents won’t tip their hand when you ask this question, but there’s always a chance the agent says “yes.” And, in some instances, the seller has authorized their agent to tell interested buyers that the price is negotiable. In any case, you might as well ask. (It’s kind of like googling for a coupon code when you buy something online.)
  5. How many days has the home been on the market? You can find this information on the internet, but the seller’s agent can give you context, especially if the house has been sitting on the market for a while. Maybe the home was under contract but the buyer’s financing fell through, or the seller overshot the listing price and had to make a price reduction? Knowing the backstory can only help you.
  6. Has the price changed? You can see if there’s been a price reduction online, but talking to the listing agent is the only way to find out why the seller dropped the price.
  7. Are there any issues? Have there been any renovations or recent repairs made to the home? Some upgrades, like new kitchen appliances, are easy to spot, but some are harder to identify. Specifically ask about the roof, appliances, and HVAC system because they can be expensive to repair or replace. BTW, repairs like a leaky faucet, aren’t {{ start_tip 92 }}things that need to be disclosed.{{ end_tip }}
  8. What are the average utility costs? Many buyers don’t factor utility bills into their monthly housing expenses, and these costs can add up — particularly in drafty older homes. Ask the listing agent what a typical monthly utility bill is during the summer and during the winter, since heating and cooling costs can fluctuate seasonally. Be prepared for higher utility bills if you’re moving from an apartment to a single-family home.

Now that you’ve got your answers, there’s one last thing to do: Thank the host before you go. You never know — you could be seeing them again at the negotiating table soon.

#RealEstate #RealEstateAgent #RealEstateMiami #RealEstateSouthFlorida

Check out homes for sale in Miami. Contact Ralph Magin, your trusted real estate agent, at 305-741-2142 or visit http://ralphmagin.com/ for real estate inquiries.

Ralph Magin, GRI, CRB, Broker Associate
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate
40 Years Experience Over 3,000 Homes Sold
305-741-2142 – RalphMagin@yahoo.com – www.RalphMagin.com

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HOLLYWOOD FLORIDA REAL ESTATE BIGGEST SALES (03-23-18)

 

Hollywood Florida

HOLLYWOOD FLORIDA REAL ESTATE BIGGEST SALES

*as of March 23, 2018

 

Hollywood Florida

WE HAVE THE KEY TO YOUR DREAM HOME. CHECK OUT REAL ESTATE PROPERTIES FOR SALE IN HOLLYWOOD FLORIDA.

 

#RealEstate #RealEstateSouthFlorida #RealEstateHollywoodFlorida

Call now for real estate inquiries! 305-741-2142 or visit www.ralphmagin.com

 

Anne Kolb Nature Center Hollywood Florida 1

Anne Kolb Nature Center

751 Sheridan St., Hollywood, FL 33019

City life can be stressful at times with  the past paced environment, pollution, traffic and an endless list goes on. Sometimes you just need to take some time off and face the world in a slow motion because t it is in those times that you’ll learn to appreciate the little things in life like the nature. A natural environment can be beneficial to our body. We need to breath fresh air, engage with the animals, relax in the midst of the greens and see the simplicity of life through nature. Miami is blessed with a vast land of natural resources to be explored and cared for. The Anne Kolb Nature Center is an institution in Hollywood Miami that caters as a home to a variety of plants, animals and event endangered species.

 

The Anne Kolb Nature Center is named after a famous active environmentalist and County Commissioner who proposed ordinance to protect the environment over future developments. Though it has not been easy, all her efforts paid off acquisition and plans for the preservation, enhancement, and public accessibility of West Lake received the prestigious Take Pride in America Award. After the rigorous process, the nature center finally opened on February 10, 1996. Anne Kolb Nature Center center offers great facilities for various activities held in the area such as hands-on nature experience, cater events, kayak, fishing and more. Admission is $1.50 per person (ages 6 and up) , $8 maximum charge per car or van (six to nine occupants) and $20 maximum charge per commercial vehicle/school bus (10 or more occupants). You may also check online for the admission and passes terms and queries.

 

Anne Kolb Nature Center Facilities:

Exhibit Hall

Mangrove Hall

Boat Rentals

Green Trail

Amphitheater

Observation Tower

Lake Trail

Fishing Pier Trail

Mud Flat Trail

South Trail

Public Art and Design

Geocaching

Anne Kolb Nature Center Hollywood Florida 3

Recharge your energy through nature at the Anne Kolb Nature Center. You’ll surely keep coming back. For more information, you may visit their website or contact them at 954-357-5161. They are located at 751 Sheridan St.,Hollywood, Florida. Relax, explore and have the best time of your life in Florida.

Source: https://wp.me/pTfmo-KN

#RealEstate #RealEstateSouthFlorida #RealEstateHollywoodFlorida

Check out homes for sale in Sunny Isles. Contact Ralph Magin, your trusted real estate agent, at 305-741-2142 or visit http://ralphmagin.com/ for real estate inquiries.

 

Ralph Magin, GRI, CRB, Broker Associate
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate
40 Years Experience Over 3,000 Homes Sold
305-741-2142 – RalphMagin@yahoo.com – www.RalphMagin.com

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Find the Best Agent to Sell Your House

Ralph Magin Miami South Florida Real Estate Agent

Find the Best Agent to Sell Your House

By: G. M. Filisko

Ask detailed questions about their experience and skills to help you find the right agent for your home sale.

Working with the right real estate agent can mean the difference between getting prompt, expert representation and feeling like you’re going it alone when selling your home. Here are 10 questions to ask when you’re interviewing agents.

1. How long have you been selling homes?

Mastering real estate requires on-the-job experience. The more experience agents have, the more likely they’ll be able to handle any curveballs thrown during your home sale.

2. What designations do you hold?

Designations like GRI (Graduate REALTOR® Institute) and CRS® (Certified Residential Specialist), which require that agents complete additional real estate training, show they’re constantly learning. Ask if agents have designations and, if not, why not?

3. How many homes did you sell last year?

Agents may tout their company’s success. An equally important question is how many homes they’ve personally sold in the past year; it’s an indicator of how active and aggressive they are.

4. How many days on average did it take you to sell homes?

Ask agents to show you this data along with stats from their local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) so you can see how many days, on average, their listings were on the market compared to the average for all properties in the MLS.

5. How close were the asking and sales prices of the homes you sold?

Sometimes sellers choose their agent because the agent’s suggested listing price is higher than those suggested by other agents. A better factor is the difference between listing prices and the amount homes actually sold for. That can help you judge agents’ skill at accurately pricing homes and marketing to the right buyers. It can also help you weed out agents trying to dazzle you with a lofty sales price just to get your listing.

6. How will you market my home?

The days of agents putting a For Sale sign in the yard and hoping for the best are long gone. Look for an agent who does aggressive and innovative marketing, especially on the Internet.

7. Will you represent me exclusively?

In most states, agents can represent the seller, the buyer, or both in a home sale. If your agent will also represent buyers, understand and consent to that dual representation.

8. How will you keep me informed?

If you want weekly updates by email, don’t choose an agent who plans to contact you only if there’s an offer.

9. Can you provide references?

Ask to talk to the last three customers the agent assisted. Call and ask if they’d work with the agent again and if the agent did anything that didn’t sit well with them.

10. Are you a REALTOR®?

Ask whether agents are REALTORS®, which means they’re members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR). NAR has been an advocate of agent professionalism and a champion of homeownership rights for more than a century.

Source: houselogic.com

#RealEstate #RealEstateAgent #RealEstateMiami #RealEstateSouthFlorida

Check out homes for sale in Miami. Contact Ralph Magin, your trusted real estate agent, at 305-741-2142 or visit http://ralphmagin.com/ for real estate inquiries.

Ralph Magin, GRI, CRB, Broker Associate
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate
40 Years Experience Over 3,000 Homes Sold
305-741-2142 – RalphMagin@yahoo.com – www.RalphMagin.com

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AVENTURA REAL ESTATE BIGGEST SALES (03-16-18)

Aventura

 

AVENTURA REAL ESTATE BIGGEST SALES

*as of March 16, 2018

Aventura

WE HAVE THE KEY TO YOUR DREAM HOME. CHECK OUT REAL ESTATE PROPERTIES FOR SALE IN AVENTURA .

Call now for real estate inquiries! 305-741-2142 or visit www.ralphmagin.com

 

 

The Atrium Aventura

3131 NE 188 Street Aventura, Florida 33180

Experience elegance in one of the exquisite waterfront residence located at the heart of Aventura. The Atrium Aventura is conveniently located close to numerous shopping malls, parks, golf courses and waterways. It is uniquely designed by the award-winning architect Jaime Schapiro with the International consultant Enrique Feldman displaying an extraordinary aesthetics to the building and favorable designed floor plan. The great view of the Dumbfounding bay is an additional highlight.

Atrium

The two 12-story building offers 96 residential units per tower with resort style developments in a boutique condominium. Choose from among the 2-3 bedroom units with an impressive view and an open balcony terrace. The grounds are designed with a tropical landscaping. Take a relaxing swim at the pool, while taking advantage of the beautiful ocean view or unwind in the Jacuzzi or the sundeck. Children have their own playground to have fun and engage. Other facilities and amenities are also readily available for residents to enjoy such as fitness center, multipurpose rooms for business meetings and such and so much more. Each unit features Spacious terraces, double door entrance, top of the line appliances and more.

There are still available units await you so check on the Atrium Aventura now. This home you shouldn’t miss.

#RealEstate #RealEstateSouthFlorida #RealEstateAventura

Check out homes for sale in Aventura. Contact Ralph Magin, your trusted real estate agent, at 305-741-2142 or visit http://ralphmagin.com/ for real estate inquiries.

 

Ralph Magin, GRI, CRB, Broker Associate
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate
40 Years Experience Over 3,000 Homes Sold
305-741-2142 – RalphMagin@yahoo.com – www.RalphMagin.com

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How to Use Comparable Sales to Price Your Home

How to Use Comparable Sales to Price Your Home

How to Use Comparable Sales to Price Your Home

Before you put your home up for sale, understand how the right comparable sales help you and your agent find the perfect price.

How much can you sell your home for? Probably about as much as the neighbors got, as long as the neighbors sold their house in recent memory and their home was just like your home.

Knowing how much homes similar to yours, called comparable sales (or in real estate lingo, comps), sold for gives you the best idea of the current estimated value of your home. The trick is finding sales that closely match yours.

What makes a good comparable sale?

Your best comparable sale is the same model as your house in the same subdivision—and it closed escrow last week. If you can’t find that, here are other factors that count:

Location: The closer to your house the better, but don’t just use any comparable sale within a mile radius. A good comparable sale is a house in your neighborhood, your subdivision, on the same type of street as your house, and in your school district.

Home type: Try to find comparable sales that are like your home in style, construction material, square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, basement (having one and whether it’s finished), finishes, and yard size.

Amenities and upgrades: Is the kitchen new? Does the comparable sale house have full A/C? Is there crown molding, a deck, or a pool? Does your community have the same amenities (pool, workout room, walking trails, etc.) and homeowners association fees?

Date of sale: You may want to use a comparable sale from two years ago when the market was high, but that won’t fly. Most buyers use government-guaranteed mortgages, and those lending programs say comparable sales can be no older than 90 days.

Sales sweeteners: Did the comparable-sale sellers give the buyers downpayment assistance, closing costs, or a free television? You have to reduce the value of any comparable sale to account for any deal sweeteners.

Agents can help adjust price based on insider insights

Even if you live in a subdivision, your home will always be different from your neighbors’. Evaluating those differences—like the fact that your home has one more bedroom than the comparables or a basement office—is one of the ways real estate agents add value.

An active agent has been inside a lot of homes in your neighborhood and knows all sorts of details about comparable sales. She has read the comments the selling agent put into the MLS, seen the ugly wallpaper, and heard what other REALTORS®, lenders, closing agents, and appraisers said about the comparable sale.

More ways to pick a home listing price

If you’re still having trouble picking out a listing price for your home, look at the current competition. Ask your real estate agent to be honest about your home and the other homes on the market (and then listen to her without taking the criticism personally).

Next, put your comparable sales into two piles: more expensive and less expensive. What makes your home more valuable than the cheaper comparable sales and less valuable than the pricier comparable sales?

Are foreclosures and short sales comparables?

If one or more of your comparable sales was a foreclosed home or a short sale (a home that sold for less money than the owners owed on the mortgage), ask your real estate agent how to treat those comps.

A foreclosed home is usually in poor condition because owners who can’t pay their mortgage can’t afford to pay for upkeep. Your home is in great shape, so the foreclosure should be priced lower than your home.

Short sales are typically in good condition, although they are still distressed sales. The owners usually have to sell because they’re divorcing, or their employer is moving them to Kansas.

How much short sales are discounted from their market value varies among local markets. The average short-sale home in Omaha in recent years was discounted by 8.5%, according to a University of Nebraska at Omaha study. In suburban Washington, D.C., sellers typically discount short-sale homes by 3% to 5% to get them quickly sold, real estate agents report. In other markets, sellers price short sales the same as other homes in the neighborhood.

So you have to rely on your real estate agent’s knowledge of the local market to use a short sale as a comparable sale.

Source: houselogic.com

#RealEstate #RealEstateAgent #RealEstateMiami #RealEstateSouthFlorida

Check out homes for sale in Miami. Contact Ralph Magin, your trusted real estate agent, at 305-741-2142 or visit http://ralphmagin.com/ for real estate inquiries.

Ralph Magin, GRI, CRB, Broker Associate
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate
40 Years Experience Over 3,000 Homes Sold
305-741-2142 – RalphMagin@yahoo.com – www.RalphMagin.com

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WILLIAMS ISLAND REAL ESTATE BIGGEST SALES (03-09-18)

 

Williams Island 1

WILLIAMS ISLAND REAL ESTATE BIGGEST SALES

*as of March 09, 2018

Williams Island

WE HAVE THE KEY TO YOUR DREAM HOME. CHECK OUT REAL ESTATE PROPERTIES FOR SALE IN WILLIAMS ISLAND .

 

#RealEstate #RealEstateSouthFlorida #RealEstateWilliamsIsland

Call now for real estate inquiries! 305-741-2142 or visit www.ralphmagin.com

Admiral

Admiral’s Port Condominiums

2801- 2851 NE 183rd St

 

Live in one of the luxurious condo residences along Williams Island Boulevard in Aventura. The Admiral’s Port Condominiums are located along intracoastal area with stunning views to enjoy. Each room is built with glass doors that would allow you to appreciate the relaxing views of the intracoastal and the Aventura cityscape from the living room. You’ll also enjoy the all year-round bay breezes as well as the views of the Little Maule Lake from its open balcony. It’s location conveniently puts you just minutes away from all amenities in Miami.

admiral

Admiral’s Port Condos were built in 1974 and has been renovated just recently. It has more than 300 residences in 1 bed, 2 beds and 3 bedroom floor plans with areas ranging from 1,066 to 2,330 sq ft. This condo community has 2 towers, each has 22 stories and is equipped with gym, pools, basketball, tennis courts and more.

 

Admiral’s Port Amenities:

  • Lush landscaping
  • Two swimming pools, heated
  • Tennis courts
  • Basketball court
  • Gym
  • Courtesy Bus
  • 24-hour security
  • Valet parking

admiral

Purchase your home with a residential address in Williams Island. The Admiral’s Port Condominiums offer luxurious residences with a healthy and fabulous lifestyle. Check out available Admiral’s Port Condo units now!

#RealEstate #RealEstateSouthFlorida #RealEstateWilliamsIsland

Check out homes for sale in Williams Island. Contact Ralph Magin, your trusted real estate agent, at 305-741-2142 or visit http://ralphmagin.com/ for real estate inquiries.

 

Ralph Magin, GRI, CRB, Broker Associate
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate
40 Years Experience Over 3,000 Homes Sold
305-741-2142 – RalphMagin@yahoo.com – www.RalphMagin.com

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Your Stress-Free Guide to Shopping for Home Loans

Your Stress-Free Guide to Shopping for Home Loans

Your Stress-Free Guide to Shopping for Home Loans

By: HouseLogic

With this super-simple breakdown of loan types, you won’t get overwhelmed — you’ll find the right mortgage.

When it comes to buying a house, most people know what they prefer: a bungalow or a condo, a hot neighborhood or a sleepy street.

Mortgages, too, come in many styles — and recognizing which type you should choose is just slightly more involved than, say, knowing that you prefer hardwood floors over wall-to-wall carpeting.

First things first: To pick the best loan for your situation, you need to know what your situation is, exactly. Will you be staying in this home for years? Decades? Are you feeling financially comfortable? Are you anxious about changing loan rates? Consider these questions and your answers before you start talking to lenders. (And before you choose a lender, read this.)

Next: You’ll want to have an understanding of the different loans that are out there. There are lots of options, and it can get a little complicated — but you got this. Here we go.

Mortgages Are Fixed-Rate or Adjustable, and One Type Is Better for You

Let’s start with the most common type of mortgage, that workhorse of home loans — the fixed-rate mortgage.

A fixed-rate mortgage:

  • Lets you lock in an {{ start_tip 76 }}interest rate{{ end_tip }} for 15 or 30 years. (You can get 20-year loans, too.) That means your monthly payment will stay the same over the life of the loan. (That said, your property taxes and insurance premiums will likely change over time.)

It’s ideal when: You want long-term stability and plan to stay put.

Here’s what else you need to know about fixed-rate mortgages:

  • A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage offers a lower monthly payment for the loan amount (for this reason, it’s more popular than the other option, the 15-year).
  • A 15-year fixed-rate mortgage typically offers a lower interest rate but a higher monthly payment because you’re paying off the loan amount faster.

Now let’s get into adjustable-rate, the other type of mortgage you’ll be looking at.

An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM):

  • Offers a lower interest rate than a fixed-rate mortgage for an initial period of time — say, five or seven years — but the rate can fluctuate after the introductory period is over, depending on changes in interest rate conditions. And that can make it difficult to budget.
  • Has caps that protect how high the rate can go.

It’s ideal when: You plan to live in a home for a short time or you expect your income to go up to offset potentially higher future rates.

Here’s what else you need to know about adjustable-rate mortgages:

  • Different lenders may offer the same initial interest rate but different rate caps. It’s important to compare rate caps when shopping around for an ARM.
  • Adjustable-rate mortgages have a reputation for being complicated. As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau advises, make sure to read the fine print.

A general rule of thumb: When comparing adjustable-rate loans, ask the prospective lender to calculate the highest payment you may ever have to make. You don’t want any surprises.

Conventional Loan or Government Loan? Your Life Answers the Question

Which fixed-rate or adjustable-rate mortgage you qualify for introduces a whole host of other categories, and they fall under two umbrellas: conventional loans and government loans.

Conventional loans:

  • Offer some of the most competitive interest rates, which means you’ll likely pay less in interest over the period of the loan.
  • Typically you can get one more quickly than a government loan because there’s less paperwork.

Who qualifies? Typically, you need at least a credit score of 620 or above and a 5% down payment to qualify for a conventional loan.

Here’s what else you need to know about conventional loans:

  • If you put less than 20% down for a conventional loan, you’ll be required to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI), an extra monthly fee designed to mitigate the risk to the lender that a borrower could default on a loan. (PMI ranges from about 0.3% to 1.15% of your home loan.) The upshot: The lender has to cancel PMI when you reach 22% equity in your home, and you can request to have it canceled once you hit 20% equity.
  • Most conventional loans also have a maximum {{ start_tip 78 }}43% debt-to-income (DTI) ratio,{{ end_tip }} which compares how much money you owe (on student loans, credit cards, car loans, and other debts) to your income — expressed as a percentage.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac set limits on how much money you can borrow for a conventional loan. A home loan that conforms to these limits is called a conforming loan:

  • In most cities, the maximum amount for a conforming loan is $453,100.
  • In high-cost areas, such as New York City and San Francisco, the limit is $679,650.
  • Limits are revisited annually and are subject to change based on each area’s average home price.

A home loan that exceeds these limits is called a jumbo loan:

  • Jumbo loans typically require a higher down payment (up to 30% for some lenders) and a credit score of at least 720. Some borrowers can qualify while putting down 20%, but their credit score has to be higher.)
  • They also tend to have stricter debt-to-income requirements, generally allowing for a maximum DTI ratio of 38%.

There are practical considerations to take into account before getting a jumbo loan too, mainly: Are you comfortable carrying that much debt? The answer depends on your current financial situation and long-term financial goals.

Government loans:

  • Include loans secured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development.
  • Are meant to stimulate the housing market and enable folks who may be unable to qualify for conventional loans to still become homeowners.

Who qualifies? That depends on which government loan you’re looking at.

If you’ve had trouble qualifying for a mortgage because of income limitations or credit:

FHA loans are used by a broad swath of people, including those with lower credit scores and income.

  • You can get an FHA loan with a downpayment of 3.5% if you have a minimum credit score of 580. You can still qualify with a credit score below 580 — even with no credit score — but the {{ start_tip 94 }}down payment{{ end_tip }} and other requirements will be much higher.
  • FHA loans conform to loan limits set by county; these limits typically range from $294,515 to $679,650 in high-cost areas. You can view the FHA mortgage caps for your county at hud.gov.
  • If you get an FHA loan, you must pay an upfront mortgage insurance premium (MIP) and an annual premium of 0.85%. Currently, the MIP is 1.75% of the loan amount — so, $1,750 for a $100,000 loan. This premium can be paid upfront at the mortgage closing, or it can be rolled into the monthly mortgage payment.

Also, a heads-up — the date an FHA loan was issued affects the MIP.

  • If you received an FHA loan on or before June 3, 2013: You’re eligible for canceling MIP after five years, but you must have 22% equity in your home and have made all payments on time.
  • If you received an FHA loan after June 3, 2013: To stop paying MIP, you’d have to refinance into a conventional loan and have a current loan-to-value of at least 80%.

If you’re in the military, a veteran, or a veteran’s spouse:

  • VA loans offer active or retired military (or a veteran’s surviving spouse) a mortgage with a 0% down payment.
  • VA loans also can have more lenient credit requirements — typically around a minimum 620 credit score — and lower DTI requirements.
  • The VA only allows lenders to charge 1% maximum to cover the costs of originating and underwriting the loan, so you save money at closing. There is, however, an additional upfront, one-time funding fee of 2.15%.

VA loans also don’t charge borrowers mortgage insurance — potentially helping you save a significant chunk of cash on your monthly payment.

Given the benefits, a VA loan is often the best mortgage option for people who qualify.

If your income is limited and you live in a small or rural town:

USDA loans are mortgages for limited-income home buyers in towns with populations of 10,000 or less, or that are “rural in character,” meaning that some areas that now have bigger populations are grandfathered in. You can see whether your town is eligible on the USDA’s website.

  • USDA loans typically have lower interest rates than non-USDA loans.
  • Down payments can be as low as 0%.
  • USDA mortgages also have more lenient credit score requirements than conventional loans.
  • Income limits to qualify depend on location and household size.
  • USDA loans charge an upfront mortgage insurance fee of 1% of the loan amount and annual mortgage insurance premium of 0.35%.
  • And USDA loan borrowers must buy a “modest home” — a property with a market value deemed reasonable for the area, though the USDA does not set specific price limitations.

Only a select number of lenders offer USDA loans; here’s a list of USDA-approved lenders nationwide.

If your job is to help people:

Niche programs, like the Neighbor Next Door from HUD, allows teachers, law enforcement officers, first responders, and government workers — as much as 50% — on eligible homes in revitalization districts.

Note: Downpayment assistance programs offer qualified buyers such things as grants and interest-free loans. Start with your state’s housing finance agency to find options.

Now You Know the Basics. It’s Time to Call for Backup

Speaking of your lender: Ultimately, you’ll be working with your loan officer or broker to narrow down these choices, and to find a loan that works for you and your finances. (Just another reason why it’s important to choose a lender you’re comfortable with.)

Your real estate agent should be able to offer some insight, too. And because they don’t earn a paycheck from your loan selection, their advice about mortgages should be impartial.

You know your stuff. And you know whom to ask for help. Who’s overwhelmed? Not you.

#RealEstateMiami #SouthFloridaRealEstate #RealEstateExpert

Check out homes for sale in Miami. Contact Ralph Magin, your trusted real estate agent, at 305-741-2142 or visit http://ralphmagin.com/ for real estate inquiries.

Ralph Magin, GRI, CRB, Broker Associate
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate
40 Years Experience Over 3,000 Homes Sold
305-741-2142 – RalphMagin@yahoo.com – www.RalphMagin.com

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