Donna Coffin - ERA Key Realty Services - Distinctive Group



Posted by Donna Coffin on 10/18/2019

Buying a house is never a simple decision. Aside from all of the financial aspects of purchasing a home, there are numerous life-related considerations youíll need to think about. So, it comes as little surprise that diving head on into the house hunting process can be stressful and taxing to the home buyer.

With all of the different numbers to keep track of--a down payment, closing costs, credit scores, interest rates, and so on--itís easy to get lost in the finer details of your budget. This can lead to even more stress as you try to navigate your way through getting approved for a mortgage and shopping for the perfect home.

In this article, weíre going to give you some tips on how to maintain your budget and reduce stress throughout the home buying process. That way, when you do finally find the house youíve been waiting for, youíll be able to move forward confidently.

Trust the process

Many first-time home buyers enter the real estate market with little knowledge or experience of how things work. Any newcomer to such a huge and complex industry is bound to be flustered with all of the different options available to them.

However, much of the home buying process is relatively standardized. Real estate agents all make roughly the same commission, lenders use similar algorithms to decide how much of a loan youíll be approved for, and real estate contracts contain legal safeguards and contingencies to ensure that you and the sellerís interests are protected.

When shopping for a mortgage or getting pre-approved, itís a good idea to ask friends, family, or read reviews online to find someone you know you can trust. From there, rely on the experts to lead you through the process.

Have a long-term plan

Much of the stress and anxiety around buying a home comes from the uncertainty of the future. Sitting down with your family and significant other and deciding your long-term goals for homeownership is a good way to build confidence and know that youíre making the right choice.

Determining things like location, the number of years you want to live in a home, and what priorities are the most important (school districts, neighborhood safety, etc.) will help you make that plan a reality.

Use the tools at your disposal

If youíre reading this article, you already have started to take advantage of one of the most important resources you have, the internet. Look up real estate terminology youíre unfamiliar with, read up on the different types of mortgages, and take advantage of free online calculators to create what-if scenarios to find out what you might end up paying in closing costs and interests.

Itís also a good idea to check your credit score for free online. You can check your official reports once per year, but for simple credit checks you can look it up each month for free.

Knowing that youíre in good hands with a lender and agent, that you have a basic understanding of industry terms, that you have a long-term plan, and that your finances are in order will all help set your mind at ease and give you confidence as you move forward toward homeownership.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Donna Coffin on 10/11/2019

You've found your dream home Ė at least, you initially thought you discovered your ideal house. But following the home inspection, you're starting to have second thoughts about whether you want to purchase a particular residence.

A home inspection is a valuable opportunity for a homebuyer. It enables a buyer to receive expert insights from a property inspector about a house's age and condition. Thus, if a home inspection reveals myriad problems with a residence, a homebuyer still has an opportunity to walk away from a home sale.

Ultimately, there are many factors for a homebuyer to evaluate after a home inspection, including:

1. The Home's Condition

When it comes to evaluating a home's condition, there may be more than meets the eye. Fortunately, a home inspection enables a property inspector to take a deep look at a house's interior and exterior and provide detailed findings.

If a home's condition fails to match your expectations, don't hesitate to walk away from a home sale. By doing so, you can reenter the housing market and begin your search for the perfect residence once again.

On the other hand, if a home's condition is not a deal-breaker, feel free to move forward with a home sale. And in a short period of time, you'll likely soon be the owner of a great house.

2. The Home's Age

A home's age may dictate whether substantial home repairs or improvements may be needed down the line.

For example, a home's furnace usually needs to be replaced every 10 to 15 years. If a 30-year-old residence still has its original furnace in place, this device may need to be replaced sooner rather than later.

A home inspection should provide clear-cut insights into potential home improvements that you may need to perform in the near future. Use these insights to your advantage, as they may help you if you try to renegotiate the price of a house.

3. Long-Term Home Improvements

Spend plenty of time with a home inspector and don't hesitate to ask this professional plenty of questions. Remember, he or she is available to help you make an informed homebuying decision. And if you learn about potential long-term home improvements now, you may be able to avoid severe home problems down the line.

If a home inspector discovers roof problems or other substantial house issues, take his or her recommendations seriously. That way, you can avoid the danger of buying a "money pit," i.e. a house that may prove to be more trouble than it's worth.

Lastly, if you need help at any point during the homebuying journey, reach out to a real estate agent. This housing market professional can put you in touch with the best home inspectors in your area and allow you to minimize stress throughout the homebuying cycle.

Ready to make your homeownership dreams come true? Consider the aforementioned factors after a home inspection, and you can move one step closer to purchasing a terrific house at a budget-friendly price.




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Posted by Donna Coffin on 9/13/2019

Closing costs are usually an unavoidable part of buying a home. While there are ways to reduce some closing costs and fees, they are an expense you will likely have to consider when it comes time to save for a home.

On average, buyers can expect to pay between 2 and 5 percent of the purchase price in closing costs and fees.

In this article, weíre going to break down those costs and talk about some ways to plan for, or limit, the fees associated with closing on a home.

A breakdown of closing costs

Most closing costs in a real estate transaction are paid for by the buyer. When getting approved for a mortgage, your lender is required to provide you with an estimate of the closing costs. This is called a ďClosing Disclosure statementĒ which overviews the details of your loan.

Different lenders will charge varying amounts in fees. Some are even willing to waive certain fees. But, weíll discuss that later.

For now, letís focus on the closing costs buyers typically have to pay:

  • Attorney fees - a flat-fee or hourly rate depending on the attorney

  • Origination fees - an upfront fee charged by the lender for processing your mortgage application

  • Prepaid interest or discount points - a payment for the interest that will accrue on your mortgage from the time you close until your first mortgage payment is due

  • Home inspection fee - the fee that a professional home inspector charges to inspect a home

  • Escrow deposits - Usually split with the seller, this is the fee charged by an escrow agent

  • Recording fees - fees for legally recording the new deed and mortgage

  • Underwriting fees - fees paid to the lender for researching your mortgage case and determining whether or not to approve your application

These are just some of the many fees that can be due upon closing on a home. Depending on where you live, which lender you choose, and the type of mortgage you secure, your closing costs will vary, so itís a good idea to shop around for a lender and mortgage type with reasonable closing costs.

Reducing closing costs

Some lenders offer no-cost, or low-cost mortgages. However, these savings often come with a higher interest rate which, over the lifespan of your loan, can cost you more in the long run.

You should also be aware of the different loan types that you may be eligible for. FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans are all designed for buyers hoping to make lower down payments on their home.

Each loan type provides different amounts due at closing. Fortunately, your mortgage lender will be able to give you an estimate of costs for each loan type.

Want to get an estimate of the closing costs youíll have to pay when you buy a home? You can use this online calculator to see an average.




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Posted by Donna Coffin on 8/9/2019

If a seller approves your offer to purchase his or her house, conducting a home inspection likely will be the next step of the property buying cycle. Although you may have the option to forgo a house inspection, you should not avoid this evaluation. Because if you forgo a home inspection, you may wind up purchasing a house that fails to meet your expectations.

Ultimately, there are many reasons to perform a house inspection before you finalize a home purchase, and these reasons include:

1. You can gain deep insights into a house's condition.

A home showing enables you to get an up-close look at a residence so you can determine if a residence is right for you. Meanwhile, an inspection goes one step beyond a showing, as it allows you to work with a property expert to analyze all aspects of a house.

During a home inspection, a property expert will walk through a house and analyze the residence's underlying condition. Then, this property expert will provide an inspection report that details his or her findings.

It is important to assess an inspection report closely. That way, you can learn about a home's condition and decide whether to continue with a house purchase.

2. You can review potential property repairs.

If you want to identify potential house repairs, a home inspection is key. If you conduct a home inspection, you can find out about possible property repairs, review the costs associated with them and plan accordingly.

Of course, if the costs of home repairs are significant, you may want to request a price reduction from a house seller. On the other hand, if various home repairs are simple to complete on your own, you may want to proceed with a home purchase.

3. You can make the best-possible homebuying decision.

Let's face it Ė buying a home may be one of the biggest decisions you will make in your lifetime. If you make a poor decision, you may suffer the consequences of your choice for an extended period of time.

Thanks to a home inspection, you can gain the insights you need to make a data-driven home purchase. Best of all, you can use a home inspection to perform a full analysis of a house and feel good about your decision to buy a residence.

As you get ready to pursue a house, you should hire a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional can help you prepare for a house inspection and complete other homebuying tasks.

For example, a real estate agent will attend a home inspection with you. And after a home inspection is finished, you and your real estate agent can review the inspection results together. Finally, your real estate agent can offer an honest, unbiased recommendation about how to proceed following a house inspection.

Ready to find and acquire your dream home? Conduct an inspection as part of the homebuying process, and you can learn about a house and determine whether a residence matches your expectations.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Donna Coffin on 7/26/2019

Before you even set out to buy a home, you may think that you need to look at a magic number of homes in order to find the house thatís right for you. Thereís always a fear among buyers that they didnít look at enough homes before settling on one. The number of homes that you look at is up to you. There is no magic number that will dictate finding the perfect home. The most important thing is to trust your own intuition. In A sellerís market, you also may not have much choice. When inventory is low, if you find a home you love, youíll need to move to make an offer on it! 


The Average Buyer


People looking at condos take between 1 and 3 months to find the property thatís right for them. Those looking for single family homes tend to take a bit longer- between 3 and 6 months to find a home. Buying a traditional house seems to spark more questions and more uncertainty, which leads buyers to take their time to find what theyíre looking for.


Know Where You Want To Live


Before you start your home search, you should have a good idea of where you want to live. Have a list of cities, towns, and neighborhoods narrowed down to make your search a bit easier from the start. Take a ride around potential neighborhoods and get a feel for them. See the stores, restaurants, and nearby parks to really understand the area. 


Match Your Lifestyles


Where you choose to live has a lot to do with your lifestyle. Think of the following:


  • Where your friends live
  • Where your family lives
  • Where you work
  • What you do for fun


Whatever you love and whatever you love to do should be a factor in your home search. If you love the beach, you donít want to be a three hour drive away if you can help it. You also donít want a 2-hour commute to work. Find the balance to make your life happier in the new space you choose.      


Make A List


It sounds simple, but making a list of what you must have, what youíd like, and what would be a bonus can really help you in your home search. This holds true whether you look at 2 homes or 50 homes. The number of homes that you look at isnít as important as your needs and wants. Buying a home is a huge investment and you need to be happy with your decision. While itís not completely advisable to buy the first house that you see, if you have a good idea of what you want in a tough market, itís best to put an offer in.