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Are You ‘Mortgage Pre-approval Worthy’? Learn How to Assess Your Finances in 10 Minutes

Finding the right home and the right mortgage can take a lot of time and energy, so it’s important to consider whether you’ll be prepared for approval before diving into the process. Whether you’ve had some financial setbacks or you just want to have an idea ahead of time, here are some ways to quickly determine if you’ll be pre-approved for a mortgage.

Do You Have A Down Payment?

You may have heard that the ideal down payment amount is 20% of the cost of the home, but this doesn’t mean you have to have this amount. However, it is important that you have a significant chunk of change put away so that it can signal to the lender that you’re financially sound and will be able to come up with your monthly payment. A down payment will not only minimize the amount of money you owe the lender each month, it will also show that you know how to save and can be trusted with a significant financial investment.

Determine Your Credit History

Many potential homebuyers have financial hiccups in their history, but it’s how they’re dealt with that determines the future. While you may have considerable issues getting a mortgage approved if you’re not paying your minimum payments on time and have debt, by making this change, you can have a positive impact on your credit history in a matter of months. You may also want to get a copy of your credit report to ensure there are no errors that have adversely impacted your score.

Do You Have A Solid Employment History?

It’s very important to have a solid work history in the event that you’re applying for a mortgage, as this will signal to the lender that you have the funds to make your monthly payment. Keep in mind that it’s good to have at least 2 years of solid employment under your belt, and you’ll need to provide pay stubs. If you’re self-employed or your recent job opportunities have been sporadic, this can cause issues with getting pre-approved.

It can take a lot of time to find the right house and the right lender, but if you have a solid history of employment and a sizable down payment you’re well on your way to pre-approval. If you’re preparing for purchasing a home and would like to learn more, you may want to contact Catskill Country Real Estate.

Applying for a Mortgage? 3 Easy Ways to Make the Process Easier — and Reduce Your Stress

stressThere are more than enough details involved in getting a mortgage and moving into your own home that you’ll want to know how to make the process as seamless as possible beforehand. However, there’s a chance you might not be aware of the things you can do to make it a little easier on yourself. If you’re currently looking for a home and are wondering how to streamline the approval process, here are some things to do before applying to minimize mortgage-related stress.

Get Electronic Documentation

In order to get approved for your mortgage application, you’ll need to provide documentation that will likely include bank statements, federal tax returns and recent paystubs, but providing or acquiring all of these documents in paper form can require a lot of drudgery. Instead of paper, get your documentation together and ensure it’s in electronic form so it can be easily accessed or sent from anywhere. This means you’ll have it on hand as soon as it’s needed.

Choose A House You Can Afford

As a potential homebuyer on the market, it’s easy to be swayed by your dream home, but if your dream home doesn’t come with an acceptable price tag, it’s important to move on to the next best opportunity. It can be very easy to be invested enough in a particular home that you can convince yourself you’ll budget for it, but the market can shift and this can push your monthly payment from difficult to not-doable. Choosing a home at an affordable cost will not only improve your chances of approval, it will also minimize your stress after the move-in date.

Have Your Down Payment Ready

It may be all well and good to know that your down payment money is in the bank, but it’s important that it’s in the appropriate account at least 3 months prior to your application submission so you can ensure you’ll be seen as financially sound. While it’s great to have money held in investments and RRSPs, it’s important that this down payment money is kept in an easily accessible account where it can be withdrawn without any time delays or financial losses.

There are many different steps and small details associated with obtaining a mortgage, but by having your electronic documentation and down payment ready, you’ll be well on your way to an approval. If you’re currently on the market for a home, contact John for some ideas and on how to streamline the lending process.

Buying a Home soon? 4 Unconventional Ways to Save up for Your Down Payment

saveEverybody could use a bit of help saving up to make that bulk payment a little less intimidating.

There are plenty of unconventional ways to save up that may seem small, but will quickly add up and put a dent into that down payment.

Create A High Interest Savings Account

Talk to the bank about creating a secondary savings account with a higher interest rate. These super savings accounts usually come with the caveat that no money can be removed for a designated period of time. Using this account for the down payment works in everybody’s favor because it guarantees those extra dollars cannot be used for any other purpose.

Discard One Guilty Pleasure

Enjoy Starbucks coffee? Grab a pint every happy hour? Choose one vice and put the amount that would be spent on it into a jar. Most people will be surprised on how much money they spend each month on one guilty pleasure that can easily be cut out of their life. Every perk that’s cut will increase the amount by a decent margin.

Put Away Any Bonus Money

Holiday bonuses from work, tax refunds, birthday or Christmas presents, income from side gigs, any and all extra dollars that come in from any source outside of the main paycheck should be considered ‘down payment dollars.’ Sure it’s tempting to use that nice bonus or tax refund on a weekend trip or a night out, but all extra income should be saved away for that initial down payment.

Bring On The Roommates

People who already own a home and are looking to relocate can take this unconventional approach. Decent housing is hard to find so anybody with an extra room can rent it out and put that money towards the new house. Having a roommate can be a pain, but it’s for a limited time and can add up quickly.

While saving for a down payment can be stressful, you don’t have to go through the process alone. John Kavaller will be able to guide you and provide some helpful tips for how to make that down payment without breaking the bank. These men and women have seen countless couples go through the same thing and their experience can make a world of difference.

The Pros and Cons of Using Your Savings to Make Your Full 20 Percent Down Payment

downIf you’ve been perusing the real estate market with the hope of purchasing a home, you may be aware that the often-touted amount you should put down is 20 percent. However, there are good things and bad things involved in investing so much money into your new home. If you’re wondering how to decide on your down payment amount, here are some things to consider before putting in 20 percent.

No Rainy Day Fund

It might seem like the best option is to put down as much as you can, and use up your savings if needed, but putting all of your money into your home can be a mistake. While you may not foresee any financial issues arising in the next few years as you pay down your mortgage, not having any extra money can put you in a vulnerable position if the market shifts or other life issues appear. Investing in a home is a good choice, but you may want to protect some of your other assets.

Lowering Your Monthly Payment

While putting down the full 20 percent can seem like a huge chunk of change, it can be a boon for your monthly finances in the sense that your monthly mortgage payment will be automatically reduced. While this is a good thing and can make your monthly amount more manageable, it’s important to remember that your monthly payments should be affordable and you shouldn’t be stretching for extra house because you can. Make sure you’re buying a home you can afford, with or without 20 percent.

Avoiding Mortgage Insurance

Putting less than 20 percent may seem like a good decision if you’re ready to buy a home and don’t quite have the money saved, but putting less down can actually increase the cost of your home overall. Because you’ll have to pay mortgage insurance if you put down less, this will add to your monthly payment and will be money that you can’t get back. If you’re ready to dive into the market, you may want to move forward, but it can also be a better investment to wait and save a bit more.

20 percent is often the magic number when it comes to a down payment, but there are pros and cons associated with putting this much money down. If you’re currently on the market for a new home, contact John Kavaller for a frank discussion on how to best approach down payment percentage.

4 Things Your Mortgage Broker Wishes You Knew

4 Things M BrokerAs the mortgage market has become more competitive, it has become a more common choice for many people to choose a mortgage broker to assist them with the lending process. While it’s great to have someone to help you with the fine details, there are some important differences between what a mortgage broker does and what you might think they do, so here are some things to be aware of.

They Can’t Approve Your Mortgage

Many people think that having a mortgage broker is a surefire way to obtain a home loan, but because brokers are a separate entity from the bank, they do not have the authority to approve your application. Instead, a good broker will be able to give you information about the best loans for you and ensure all the guidelines for the application are met.

The Rules Of Down Payments

According to founder of Arcus Lending, Shashank Shekhar, “You can’t borrow a down payment – it’s just not allowed.” Many people may not know this, but a down payment needs to be money that you’ve come up with on your own. If much of your down payment money was gifted to you, it’s important to let your broker know so this can be documented in your paperwork.

They’re Commission Based

Most potential homebuyers have a lot of questions when it comes to buying a home, but a mortgage broker is not necessarily the person to consult if you’re starting from square one. Because many brokers are commission-based, time is of the essence for them, so if you’re not really serious about buying a home, you may want to do some research before setting up a consultation.

Financial Changes Can Impact Your Application

When you’re going through the process of getting a mortgage, it can be easy to forget to consult with your broker or let them know of any changes, but it’s very important to keep them in the loop so your approval isn’t impacted. A large expenditure or change in your finances can cause issues with your mortgage, so ensure that before you do anything big you contact your broker to determine how to proceed.

Utilizing a mortgage broker for a home purchase is becoming more popular with the competitiveness of the industry, but there are things you should know before reaching out to a professional. If you’ve done your research and are currently looking for a broker in your area, you may want to contact John Kavaller for a suggestion or two.

4 Negotiation Tips for Home Sellers

TipsWhen you’ve already placed your home on the market, it can seem like the stress is over once you’ve received the offer, but the buck doesn’t stop there. Instead of being caught off guard when the time comes to negotiate, consider these tips that will assist in making the sale.

Rely On Your Agent

Once you’re at the point where you’ve received an offer and are unsure as to whether you should take it, it’s a good idea to sit down and discuss the options with your agent. Because a real estate professional will have plenty of experience with this part of the process, they’ll be able to guide you through what’s an acceptable offer and what you should pass on.

Sell Until It’s Signed

It’s very exciting to receive an offer on your home, but a verbal offer is not set in stone so don’t forget about other interested parties that are still in the mix. Since a buyer’s purchase of your home won’t be official until they’ve signed a contract and put down a deposit, make sure you to keep in touch with other potential buyers that might have an offer if your best option backs out.

It’s Not Just About Money

It’s great to receive the asking price you’re looking for, but there are many things to consider with the sale of your home. In the event that your home inspection has come up with a few maintenance flaws, you may need to adjust the price for your buyer. As well, it’s possible your buyer may not be ready to move in when you’re ready to move out, so be sure to consider any issue that may impact the final sale.

Don’t Hold On To Your Price

There are no set rules when it comes to price, but if you haven’t received any offers and your house has been on the market for more than 60 days, there’s a good chance it’s time to sit down with your agent. While it’s great to know all of the negotiation rules, if your price is set to high for the market, you’re not going to have the opportunity to get to the table.

There are plenty of negotiation strategies to consider when it comes to selling your home, but staying in the game and trusting your agent can go a long way towards a successful sale. If you’re planning on putting your home on the market, contact John Kavaller for advice.

Owning vs Renting: Why High Rents Are Worse Than a Mortgage over the Long Term

buyIf you’re at the stage in life where home ownership is nearly within your reach, you’re probably wondering whether you should start looking for a home or whether you should just keep renting. Renting is easier, people say, and it gives you more mobility. But over the long term, all that rent money can really add up – and it eventually reaches a point where buying a home is a better deal.

So why is paying a high rent a worse option than buying a house and getting a mortgage? Here’s what you need to know.

Renting Doesn’t Generate Equity

One of the single biggest sources of wealth in the United States is home equity – as you pay down your mortgage, you invest more and more of your money into your property, and it appreciates in value. When you eventually sell that home, you make a profit. The monthly payment is something you’d have to make anyway, whether you rent or own – but when you rent, your monthly rent money lines someone else’s pockets, while when you own, paying down your mortgage actually creates wealth for you.

Renting Doesn’t Give You Access To Homeowner Tax Credits And Deductions

There are all sorts of tax benefits available to homeowners that renters simply can’t access. As a homeowner, you can deduct your mortgage interest from your taxes owing, reducing your taxable income – but there’s no such deduction for renters. You can also deduct property taxes and some closing costs when you buy a home – there are no corresponding tax benefits for renters.

There are also several tax credits available to homeowners that aren’t available to renters. Things like renovations or simply buying a home for the first time can give you tax benefits that renters can’t access.

If You Can Muster Up A Down Payment, Owning Is Cheaper In The Long Run

One of the biggest hurdles keeping young people out of the real estate market is the down payment. It’s not easy, but if you can save up enough money for a down payment, you’re actually better off buying a home than continuing to rent.

According to Trulia, the median home price in metro Houston in Texas is just under $163,000, while the median monthly rent for an apartment is $1,550. That means renting would cost $18,600 per year, while buying a home (assuming a 20% down payment and 30-year term) would cost $9,384 per year in mortgage payments. In other words, owning is about half as expensive as renting in the long run.

Renting may be a good short-term solution, but over the long haul, owning is almost always better. Call me and let’s figure out if you have a realistic opportunity to purchase a home of your own.

5, 10, 20 Percent or More? How to Determine How Big of a Down Payment You Need

Down PaymentWhether or not you’re new to real estate, there’s little doubt that you’ve heard the term down payment as it relates to purchasing a home. There’s a lot of different information out there in regards to how much this figure should be and it can be hard to determine exactly what the importance of this payment is. If you’re trying to determine the ideal amount to put down, here are some things to consider.

Explaining Down Payments And Why They’re Important

The down payment is probably one of the largest single payments you’ll make for anything, and this is why so many people save for years. When you buy a home, the down payment is the amount of money that goes into the initial home investment, and this is taken off of the cost of the house. In essence, while this money qualifies as an asset, it is tied up in paying off the total cost of your home.

The Differing Amounts For Down Payments

It’s often the case that many figures are thrown around in regards to the ideal down payment percentage, and they generally vary from 3-20% of the home’s cost. If you are paying a percentage on the low side of the scale, this can unfortunately mean that you will have fewer mortgage options and will be stuck with an increased interest rate. The amount you should pay depends on your financial health and purchasing commitment, but the larger the down payment is, the more minimal your monthly payments will be.

Deciding The Perfect Percentage

Saving up 20% of a home’s total price may seem like a lot of time and effort, but this can be the ideal amount to put down. In addition to lowered monthly payments and a better interest rate, you’ll also be able to avoid Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), which is required if you put down less than 20%. There is no right answer to the question of how much to put towards a down payment, but you may end up spending less in the long run if you can invest more in the beginning.

There are many figures thrown around when it comes to real estate, but the amount of a down payment should be economically feasible for you and enable you to make your monthly payments consistently. If you’re planning on purchasing soon and are looking for home options, you may want to contact me for suggestions on mortgage professionals we work with. They can fill you in on all you need to know regarding down payment amounts to consider when applying for a loan.

The Pros and Cons of Putting in More Than 20 Percent as a Down Payment on Your New Home

More or LessOne of the most common questions home buyers ask today relates to how much money they need to put down on a home. There are mortgage requirements in place that establish minimum down payment requirements, and some home buyers will barely have enough to pay the minimum down payment as well as closing costs. However, if you have access to more money, you may be wondering if you should make a larger down payment. There are several points to consider to determine if making a larger down payment is right for your financial situation.

Having Liquid Assets Available After Closing

It is important to consider how much available cash you will have access to after closing if you do make a larger down payment. There are many costs associated with home ownership to think about, such as unexpected repair costs, paying a homeowners’ insurance deductible if a mishap occurs and even furnishing your new home. Once your funds are invested in your home, you will only be able to tap into those funds by refinancing. You may consider placing extra cash into a more liquid asset if you do not have a lot of extra cash available to you.

Qualifying for a Lower Interest Rate

Depending on your loan program, you may be able to qualify for a lower interest rate if you place more money down with your new mortgage. This is not always the case, so you will want to review this option with your mortgage representative. Keep in mind that interest will impact your mortgage payment as well as the amount of your mortgage interest tax deduction at the end of the year.

Having a Lower Mortgage Payment

When you obtain a lower loan amount with your mortgage, your mortgage payment will be lower. This can make your budget more affordable going forward. Because a mortgage payment is generally one of the higher expenses in a budget, the importance of this cannot be understated. An alternative to this is to establish the loan on a shorter term. Using a shorter term option generally makes your payments higher, but with a larger down payment, it may be easier for you to manage a shorter term length and to pay your mortgage off more quickly.

Using Funds for Other Purposes

You should also consider other ways that you could use your additional funds. For example, you may have high interest rates debts that you could pay off, or you may be able to invest the additional funds in the stock market. For some, tying funds up in a home is practical, but it is not always the best option available.

There is no catch-all answer regarding how much money you should use as a down payment. Each situation is unique, and you should speak with your mortgage representative to discuss the pros and cons of a larger down payment with your specific loan application.

We, at Catskill Country Real Estate, suggest you contact Janice Hernandez for rapid response to your financing questions.  Here is her contact information:

Janice Hernandez