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Posted by Danielle Lozzi on 5/16/2021

Buying a house is arguably the most expensive purchase most people will make in their lives. With real estate prices steadily rising year after year, many Americans are finding ways to save on housing.

At the same time, rent prices too are increasing, especially around metro areas where many young Americans are entering the workforce. With costs rising and wages stagnating, it can be hard to find an affordable place to live while still building equity that can be used later on down the road.

One option that many Americans are considering is the fixer-upper route. However, it takes know-how and a lot of hard work to make this method a good choice to save you money. In this article, weíll tell you how to make certain buying a fixer upper is a good idea and what costs you can expect along the way.

Adding up the costs

Buying a house that needs work means youíll need to spend a good amount of time calculating costs and getting quotes from professionals. Even if youíre familiar with several home maintenance tasks, there are some jobs that are safer if left to the pros. This isnít only a matter of physical safety, however. If you start a job that you arenít qualified to finish you could end up paying much more than if you had just hired a licensed professional to do the job in the first place.

When estimating costs for reparations and renovations, aim high. Itís better to plan for it to be more expensive and have more left over than to underestimate your projects and go over budget.

Get an inspection report

If you arenít sure whether or not you want to go through with a deal, make sure you have an inspection contingency clause in your contract. This will enable you to back out if the home inspector makes you aware of any costs that you werenít told about by the seller.

Donít forget added costs

There are several closing costs youíll be responsible for as a buyer. Make sure you keep tabs on how much you can expect to spend closing on the home. If youíre going through a mortgage lender, they are required to give you an estimate of closing costs.

Once you know the purchase price of the home and the closing costs, make sure you account for other aspects of your renovations, such as getting required permits.

Borrow wisely

If you do plan on taking out a loan to cover the cost of renovations, be smart with how you get and pay back that money. One option is the FHA 203(k) loan or renovation loan.

Renovation loans help you save on closing costs and simplify the lending process by giving you one loan that accounts for the cost of the renovations and of the home itself.





Posted by Danielle Lozzi on 5/9/2021

If buying a home is something youíre considering, you might be curious about the different types of mortgages that are available to you. After all, the interest rate on your loan could have a huge impact on your finances over time, saving you thousands of dollars.

In todayís post, Iím going to demystify the home loan by explaining the most common types of mortgages. That way, youíll be able to approach a lender with a bit of context and knowledge to help make the best mortgage decision for you and your family.

Fixed-rate mortgages

The most common types of home loans in the United States today are fixed-rate mortgages. A fixed-rate mortgage has the benefit of stability in terms of its interest rate--year after year, or the lifetime of your loan, you know exactly what percent of interest youíre going to pay.

Fixed-rate mortgages most frequently come with repayment terms of 15 or 30 years. However, some lenders offer different repayment periods.

As with any debt, paying off a mortgage in a shorter term typically amounts to paying less interest over the lifespan of the loan. For this reason, buyers who can afford higher monthly mortgage payments often opt for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage.

If you canít afford higher monthly payments, a 30-year loan will typically have lower mortgage payments, but at the expense of paying more interest over the life of the loan.

The 30-year option is the most often in the United States, where first-time buyers typically have too many other monthly bills to afford a high mortgage payment.

Adjustable-rate mortgages

Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) were once an ideal option for first-time buyers who could purchase a home at a very low interest rate and then refinancing once that rate was set to rise. However, after the housing crisis of 2007, trust in the housing market drastically declined.

In recent years, ARMs have begun to make a comeback. However, they currently still only account for around 5% of home loans.

Adjustable-rate mortgages come with one important advantage and one huge disadvantage over fixed-rate mortgages. The upside is the ability to borrow money for a home at a lower interest rate than other mortgage types. The down side? Your interest rate isnít locked in for the length of the loan, meaning your rate could, in theory, rise dramatically before you sell or pay off the home. This is exactly what happened to borrowers during the subprime mortgage crisis.

Guaranteed loans

There are a number of special loan programs that have been sponsored by the government over the years. Among them are USDA rural development loans, VA loans for veterans and their spouses, and FHA loans offered by the Federal Housing Authority.

All of these loans make it easier to buy a home with little or no down payment or a credit score thatís less than perfect. That makes these options great for first-time homeowners.




Tags: Buying a home   Mortgage  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Danielle Lozzi on 4/18/2021

Going through the process of applying for a mortgage only for your application to get denied can be a frustrating and confusing time. If youíre hoping to buy your own home in the near future, itís vital to secure financing or you risk missing out on a home that you may have been depending on getting.

In todayís post, weíre going to talk about what happens when your mortgage application is denied and what you can do to fix the problem as quickly as possible.

Determine the Cause of Denial

If your application is denied, priority number one needs to be to understand what happened. Since lenders are required to provide denied applicants with a letter explaining why they were denied, this just means reading the letter and making sure you understand all of the reasons listed.

There are a few common reasons that an application may be denied. Some of them are simple fixes, while others might require time and effort on your part that may delay your house hunt for a while.

One issue that many mortgage applicants have to handle is when their employer wonít provide proof of income to a mortgage lender. Since income verification is vital to the mortgage application process, itís important to make sure you can provide all of your income details from the last 2 years to the lender.

Sometimes there are issues with contacting employers, such as when your former place of employment goes out of business. Or, you may be a freelance or contract worker with atypical forms of income verification. Regardless, make sure you are clear with your loan officer regarding your employment history.

Other common causes for denial of an application include problems with your down payment (such as not meeting the required down payment amount) and credit history issues, such as having a lower score than you thought.

Credit score lower than expected

Itís not uncommon for a lender to run a credit check and come up with a score that is lower than you anticipated. Since scores change on a monthly basis, and since there are differences between the scores provided by the three major credit bureaus, you might find that your lender found a score slightly lower than what thought.

If the score is drastically different, however, this could be a sign of two things. First, make sure that you havenít recently made multiple credit inquiries (such as applying to several lenders who perform credit checks) or by opening new credit cards or loans. These inquiries temporarily lower your credit score.

If you havenít recently made any inquiries (other than applying for a mortgage with your lender of choice), then itís a good idea to get a detailed credit report and scrutinize it for errors. Inaccuracies on your credit report can be disputed and resolved and can give your score the boost you need to be competitive on your mortgage application.  

Choosing a different lender

While most lenders use similar criteria in determining your borrowing eligibility, there are some differences between lenders.

For example, some lenders might take on more risk by lending to someone with a lower credit score. However, they will also likely require a higher interest rate in exchange for the added risk theyíve acquired.


Now that you know your options for what to do when an application is denied, youíre well-equipped to start tackling the issue and getting back on track to becoming a homeowner.





Posted by Danielle Lozzi on 4/4/2021

Do you enjoy the hustle and bustle of the big city? If so, you're sure to enjoy a city home.

Ultimately, there are many reasons to consider purchasing a home in a big city, including:

1. You can enjoy quick, easy access to public transportation.

Let's face it Ė owning a car sometimes can be problematic, and the costs associated with fuel, insurance and maintenance can add up quickly. However, you may be able to cut out some of these expenses if you live in the city.

Many cities feature public transportation systems that make it simple to travel from one location to the next. That way, you can avoid the hassles commonly associated with car ownership.

2. You can check out a broad assortment of attractions and entertainment.

The lights are always brightest in the city. Here, you can visit museums, historic landmarks and other attractions any time you choose.

For those who live in the city, you should have no trouble accessing a massive assortment of attractions and entertainment. From live theater performances to sports events, you can enjoy fun experiences in the city year-round.

3. You can visit a wide range of high-quality restaurants.

Foodies rejoice! Cities are home to some of the world's best restaurants, guaranteeing you can sample gourmet cuisine that you may struggle to find elsewhere.

Whether you appreciate traditional pub fare or elegant French dishes, you're sure to find exactly what you're looking for at a city restaurant. Plus, many city restaurants offer take-out menus, ensuring you can get first-rate cuisine delivered to your home.

How can you obtain a home in the city?

You don't need to be a millionaire to purchase a city home. In fact, here are three tips to ensure you can acquire an outstanding city house at a price that meets your budget:

1. Browse the housing market closely.

New homes reach the real estate market every day. As a homebuyer, you'll want to explore the housing market closely to find a residence that you can enjoy both now and in the future.

Examine the prices of recently sold homes in the city. Also, be sure to check out a variety of residences in-person. By doing so, you can understand what you can afford and map out your homebuying journey accordingly.

2. Get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Meet with multiple banks and credit unions before you begin your search for a city house. This will enable you to get pre-approved for a mortgage and kick off your home search with a homebuying budget in hand.

3. Work with a real estate agent.

Hire a real estate agent who understands a city's real estate market. This real estate professional will offer honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations. That way, you can accelerate the homebuying process and avoid the risk of spending too much on a city home.

Use the aforementioned homebuying tips, and you can move one step closer to securing your dream home in the city of your choice.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Danielle Lozzi on 2/14/2021

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 youíre hoping to buy a home in the near future, itís important to understand all of your options when it comes to mortgages.

In todayís post, weíre 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 youíre a first-time homebuyer and donít 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, letís 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 theyíll earn back what theyíre spending. To do this, they use several methods.

First, theyíll check your credit history to see how often you pay your bills in time. Then, theyíll want proof if your income and financial stability. Finally, theyíll ask for either a down payment or a guarantee that you will pay them back. Hereís where that 20% comes in.

If you donít 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 theyíre seeing a return on their investment.

Most homeowners put much less than 20% down

If youíre feeling bad about the amount of money you have saved for a down payment, donít be! In fact, most first-time homebuyers put, on average, just 6% down on their first home.

Since first-time homeowners donít have the benefit of equity theyíve 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 youíve 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.







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