Clive Meaden REALTOR®'s Blog
If you’ve been considering taking the next step toward homeownership, you’ve likely heard about FHA loans. Offered by the Federal Housing Administration (hence, “FHA”), these loans are great for a number of people hoping to purchase a home but who don’t have a large down payment saved.
There are many misconceptions about FHA loans since they’re often advertised by large, private mortgage lenders but are technically a government program. In order to clear up some of the confusion, we’ve provided answers to some frequently asked questions regarding FHA loans.
Read on to learn about FHA loans and how they might help you purchase a home.
Who issues an FHA loan?
FHA loans aren’t issued by the government. Rather, they’re issued by private lenders but insured, or “guaranteed,” by the government.
Since lenders want to make sure they’ll see a positive return from lending to you, they typically want you to have a high credit score and a large down payment (typically 20%). However, not everyone is able to meet those requirements. In this situation, the FHA is able to help you acquire a loan by giving your lender a guarantee.
Are there different types of FHA loans?
Yes. In fact, there are nine distinct types of loans guaranteed by the FHA. These include fixed rate mortgages, adjustable rate mortgages, refinance loans, reverse mortgages, VA loans, and more.
What do you need to qualify for an FHA loan?
It’s a common misconception that you need to be a first-time buyer to qualify for an FHA loan. However, if you have previously owned a home that was foreclosed on or if you’ve filed for bankruptcy, the foreclosure and bankruptcy have to be at least three years old.
You’ll also need to demonstrate a stable employment history, usually including two years of employment with the same employer.
Finally, the FHA will ask you for your current and previous addresses, the last two years tax returns, and the W-2 forms from any of your recent jobs.
What is the most I can borrow with an FHA loan?
The FHA sets mortgage limits on loans depending on the state and county you’ll be living in. For a single-family home, the limit ranges from $275,000 to $451,000. So be sure to check the limits for your state and county.
Can you refinance an FHA loan?
Refinancing a loan is a great way to receive a lower interest rate or to shorten the term of their mortgage to save in the total number of interest payments. In fact, the FHA typically only allows refinancing when it will result in lower interest payments on a loan.
What is the minimum credit score needed to qualify for an FHA loan?
While you don’t need excellent credit to qualify for a loan, the FHA will require you to have a score of at least a 580. You can check your score for free online from a number of companies, such as Mint or Credit Karma. Be aware, however, that scores vary between credit bureaus. So, it’s a good idea to check your FICO score once per year, which is the score used by mortgage lenders.
If possible, it helps to maintain a flexible deadline as you navigate the homebuying journey. Because if you have a tight deadline in place, you risk making a rash homebuying decision. And as a result, you may pay too much to acquire a home. Perhaps even worse, you risk purchasing a house that fails to match your expectations.
As you prepare to kick off your homebuying quest, it helps to plan ahead. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to streamline your home search and discover your ideal residence in no time at all.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you accelerate the homebuying journey.
1. Prepare Homebuying Criteria
If you know you want to buy a home, you should put together property buying criteria. That way, you can enter the housing market with a plan in hand to acquire your dream residence.
To establish homebuying criteria, think about where you want to reside. For instance, if you want a home close to parks and other family-friendly attractions, you should hone your house search accordingly. On the other hand, if you need a house that offers quick, easy access to family members, you should search for a home near these relatives.
Consider the features you want to find in your dream home, too. If you make a list of home must-haves, you can focus exclusively on houses that have the features you require.
2. Establish a Budget
Usually, it is beneficial to begin a home search with a mortgage at your disposal. If you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you will know how much you can spend on a house. Then, you can search for houses that won't force you to exceed your budget.
To obtain a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach you everything you need to know about home financing. Plus, they can help you make an informed mortgage selection.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
With a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble performing a successful home search.
A real estate agent is devoted to homebuyers' success, and as such, will do what it takes to help you achieve your desired results. For instance, if you want to buy an affordable house in a small town, a real estate agent will make it simple for you to do just that. Or, if you want to purchase a home near your office in the city, a real estate agent will craft a custom homebuying plan so you can accomplish your goal.
Furthermore, a real estate agent takes the guesswork out of buying a house. If you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, a real estate agent will respond to them – without exception.
Want to enjoy a fast, stress-free homebuying experience? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you may be better equipped than ever before to seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey.
When it comes to finding the ideal neighborhood for your next home, there's no "one size fits all" formula.
While some people enjoy the hustle and bustle of an urban environment, others prefer a quiet family-oriented neighborhood in the suburbs.
Whatever your preferences, convenience is near the top of just about everyone's priority list. Here's why:
Closeness to Work: Long, daily commutes are not only stressful, but they can cause you to miss family dinners, school events, and relaxing evenings at home. There's also the added cost of gasoline, highway tolls, and wear-and-tear on your vehicle. If you happen to be leasing a vehicle, then long commutes could result in additional mileage charges at the end of your lease. Although car leases vary, exceeding the mileage allotment set by the leasing company can sometimes run you as much as 25 cents a mile. That can potentially add up to a hefty surcharge!
While there are a lot of reasons to look for a home that's relatively close to your job or business, quality of life issues are among the most important. As an example, if your daily commute is 45 minutes, each way, that adds up to an hour-and-a-half on the road. If you factor in occasional traffic jams, road repairs, and other inevitable delays, you're talking about more than eight hours a week just driving back and forth to work. It's equivalent to adding an additional work day to your week! Although it's not always feasible (especially in two-income households), there are major advantages to finding a house that's less than a half-hour commute to your job(s).
Proximity to Conveniences: Life will also be easier if you live close to a well-stocked supermarket. When you shop at a large, high-volume grocery store, prices are more economical and food tends to be fresher. Corner grocery stores and pharmacies are nice to have nearby when you just want to pick up a few quick essentials, but for selection, price, and freshness, supermarkets are usually your best bet!
Other desirable locations to keep in mind when house hunting include good-quality schools, reputable childcare centers, and proximity to family and friends. Depending on your lifestyle, you might want to be close to airports, major highways, recreational facilities, and entertainment. It can also be an advantage to choose a home near medical and dental offices, a veterinary clinic, and a preferred church, synagogue, or mosque.
When launching a search for your family's next home, the key to success is to stay focused, create detailed priority lists, and work with a seasoned real estate agent. Whether you decide to live in a rural area, suburbia, or downtown, a real estate agent has the knowledge, training, and negotiating skills to help you get a good deal and match your lifestyle goals with your budget and timeframe.
When you’re buying a home, there’s a lot of excitement that surrounds the search and purchase of the property. In the process of buying a home, however, there are many things that buyers forget to take into account during their search and budgeting. Below, you’ll find some information to help you be prepared as a buyer to consider your home purchase from all angles without missing a beat.
The Expense Of Closing Costs
Remember that closing costs will be somewhere in the 3-5 percent range of the purchase price of a home. Amidst all of your savings, you’ll need to consider this a part of your expenses. Closing costs need to be paid upfront in most cases. You can roll your closing costs into the financing, but it depends on the circumstances. There are no guarantees that the lender will agree to it. Your realtor can also sometimes negotiate for the sellers to pay the closing costs, but in a seller’s market this is quite rare. Be prepared with your closing costs and understand how much you’ll need to spend so that you have an appropriate amount for the downpayment and the other expenses that you’ll incur during the process of buying a home.
The Cost Of Maintaining A House
Many buyers forget about all of the costs that they will need to pay for after they finish buying the house. In addition to a monthly mortgage payment, you’ll need to pay for things like utilities, routine home maintenance, furnishings, and more. If you completely deplete your savings for the purchase of the home, there’s not a whole lot of wiggle room for you to pay for additional needs in the house.
The Cost Of Furnishing And Decorating A Home
You may move into a home with a few pieces that you have previously owned. You could also need a lot of things from a bed to a sofa. All of these items can add up. You may even have to worry about little things like window shades, curtains, lamps, light bulbs, and more.
Home Repairs Can Cost A Pretty Penny
If something needs to be done in your home, the repairs can cost you quite a bit. If you’re not paying attention during the home inspection, you’ll be in for some surprises. That’s why you need a good realtor to help you through the process. A new roof can cost thousands of dollars. New appliances are an expense you should plan for. Other major work that needs to be done around the house can also dip into your savings significantly. As a buyer, you need to be prepared for any of these expected or completely unexpected costs.
Selling a home may prove to be difficult, particularly for individuals who strive to maximize their day-to-day productivity. In many instances, the time and costs associated with listing a home, promoting it to potential buyers and performing other home selling tasks can add up quickly. But if you know how to act as a productive home seller, you should have no trouble maximizing the time and resources at your disposal.
What does it take to become a productive home seller? Here are three tips to help you maximize your productivity throughout the home selling process.
1. Remove Clutter
Clutter will only slow you down during the home selling cycle. As such, you'll want to do everything you can to minimize clutter prior to listing your residence.
Artwork, photographs and other personal mementos in your home should be placed in storage until you sell your residence. That way, you can free up space in your house, as well as make it easy for homebuyers to envision what life might be like if they acquire your residence.
Also, if you have items that you no longer need, don't hesitate to sell or donate these items. And if you own items that are broken or damaged, you should dispose of these items altogether.
2. Understand the Home Selling Process
When it comes to the home selling process, it pays to be diligent. If you understand what to expect before you list your house, you'll be better prepared than ever before to handle any home selling challenges that might come your way.
Furthermore, think about the buyer's perspective during the home selling cycle – you'll be glad you did. A homebuyer wants to find a home that delivers exceptional value. As a home seller, you'll want to do whatever you can to show a buyer that your house is the ideal choice.
For home sellers, it pays to consider what you'll need to do to promote your house to the right groups of potential buyers. If you plan ahead and learn about the home selling process, you can make informed choices that may help you get the best price for your residence.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is committed to client satisfaction, and as a result, will go above and beyond the call of duty to help you maximize your productivity. This housing market professional will offer expert recommendations throughout the home selling journey to make it simple to achieve your desired results. Plus, he or she will set up home showings, keep you up to date about offers on your house and much more.
It helps to hire a real estate agent who understands the ins and outs of the housing market in your area. With this real estate agent at your side, you can quickly and effortlessly navigate the home selling cycle.
Stay productive as you sell your house – use the aforementioned tips, and you can increase the likelihood of a quick, seamless home selling experience.