Lisa M. Corr's Blog
When it comes to finding your dream home, your vision is going to be both unique and personal.
For many people, their idea of a dream home may be a composite of the home they grew up in and other mental snapshots they accumulated over the years.
In some cases, the house of your dreams may bear little or no resemblance to the image you conjured up in your mind. Sometimes, you just instinctively know the right home when you see it -- even if it's not exactly the one you originally envisioned.
A good starting point for launching your home search is to develop a detailed priority list. It should consist of both "must have" characteristics and "wish list" items. Hopefully, you and your spouse (or partner) will be in full agreement on most of the important features of your next home, such as whether you want a ranch house or colonial. Being on the same page in terms of location can also make a big difference in how satisfied you both are with your real estate purchase. As an example: Someone's going to less than thrilled if, let's say, you want a townhouse in the city, while your spouse has their heart set on a Craftsman-style home in the suburbs!
Trends in Home-Buying Preferences
If you're a member of the so-called "millennial" generation, your top priority in a new home would probably be the quality of the neighborhood. That's according to a "Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report" (2015) compiled by the National Association of Realtors. In order of importance, factors influencing home purchasing choices are: the convenience of the home to one's job(s), overall affordability, access to friends and family, and the quality of schools in the district.
Many buyers in that same demographic are also leaning toward homes that are energy efficient, ones that offer "smart home" capabilities, and dwellings that include a space that can be used as a home office. Since nearly 40% of Americans telecommute for their jobs on at least a part-time basis, more and more home buyers are adding that requirement to their priority lists. Surveys have also shown that prospective homeowners in their twenties and thirties are opting for low-maintenance surfaces, such as flooring, counter tops, and backyard decks. Updated interiors are also a strong preference for many in that age group since they don't have the extra money, time, or inclination to get involved in major renovation projects.
Other factors which belong on house-hunting priority lists include square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and the size of the yard. If privacy and noise levels are concerns, then key factors to consider would be fencing, trees and hedges, and the amount of space between houses.
While it's not always possible to find a home that includes every single item on your wish list, an experienced real estate agent can help you find what you want and match your requirements with the available listings in your desired neighborhoods.
7 Oxford Ave, Haverhill, MA 01835
If you’re ready to buy a home, you probably have done a lot of research. One thing is sure: You know you need to get pre-approved for a mortgage. It’s perhaps the most critical step in the process of buying a home for a variety of reasons. There’s down payments and debt-to-income ratios, and other financial issues to worry about. You need to know what type of mortgage you should get. To help you understand what kind of mortgage you need, you should get pre-approved.
Understand The Pre-Approval Process
There are many misconceptions about pre-approvals. First, buyers need to understand that there is a difference between a pre-qualification and a pre-approval. A pre-qualification merely scrapes the surface of your financial state, while a pre-approval goes through everything a mortgage company will need to grant you a loan. You may be pre-qualified for a much higher amount than you can actually afford, for example.
A pre-approval is a lender’s written commitment to a borrower. The approval states that the lender is willing to lend a certain amount of money for a home. The lender obtains the following from the buyer:
- Employment history
- Credit report
- Tax returns
- Bank statements
The time and effort that it takes to get a pre-approval is worth it because everything will be ready for the lender to grant the mortgage once an offer is made on a home. It also gives the buyer an upper hand in finding the home of their dreams. Many sellers require a pre-approval with an offer.
When To Get A Pre Approval
As soon as you know you’re serious about buying a home and are ready to start the house hunt, you should get pre-approved. Pre-approvals do expire after a certain amount of time, but lenders can renew them with proper notice.
The Importance Of The Pre-Approval
Many buyers feel that they can skip the pre-approval process altogether. It has many benefits. Besides giving you a better look at your finances and how much house you can afford, pre-approvals can:
- Give you the insight to correct your credit score and help you correct credit problems
- Help to avoid disappointment when you find a home you love
- Allow first-time buyers to see all of the costs involved in buying a home
A pre-approval is a handy thing to have, and it’s not just because the experts say it’s essential. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can help you to be more on top of your finances going into one of the most significant purchases you'll ever make in your life.
Once you’re ready to buy a home, you probably have a pretty good idea of what you want. Should you buy a new construction home, or look for an existing one? Builders may refer to existing homes as “used.” This term makes them sound much less appealing. Truthfully, there are many advantages to both new and existing houses.
Benefits Of New Homes
One of the most visible benefits of buying a new home is that it is untouched. The home is clean, and everything is sparkly new. You know that nothing in the house needs to be repaired. That is one of the most significant incentives to buy a new construction home. Having no repairs offsets some of the typical costs that homeowners incur once they buy.
Latest Technology And Amenities
One of the other benefits of new homes is that they are not dated. You’ll have access to all of the latest technologies and amenities in a new construction home. The home will be energy efficient which will save you some money on utilities. You’ll have all of the technological comforts that you need in order to keep your devices charged and your in-home entertainment on point.
You May Be Able To Select Features
If you do buy a new construction, often, you’ll have the option to choose the details of the home. Some key features, colors, and styles will be in your control, so you can’t complain about them once you move in!
There may be less competition for a new home. This is because most new homes are present in neighborhoods that are just being built. All the home on the street are most likely vacant, so people looking for new construction have a lot to choose from in one area.
The Cons To New Construction
Although buying new construction sounds fantastic, there are a few drawbacks. First, you’re pretty much relegated to one location- wherever the new homes are being built which is generally on a new street full of new homes. The area is essential especially when it comes to your home’s value increasing over time. Many times, new construction homes are built by the same construction company. All of the houses on the street look the same, and there may be little differentiation between them other than the color. If you’re someone who likes variety, this is something to consider.
Keep in mind that you can always buy an existing home that may be less expensive than new construction and do whatever it takes to make it your own. This is a practical option for many people. Your options may be a bit fewer if you do decide to look for new construction homes, so it’s good to go into the home buying process with an open mind as to all the possibilities that are available.
No homeowner wants to borrow more money. However, if you’re experiencing hard financial times or looking for a way to fund a home improvement project, there are ways to borrow money with your home as collateral.
In this article, we’re going to talk about home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOC). We’ll explain how they differ and break down their benefits and risks.
Before the bubble
Before the financial crisis of 2007-2008, many homeowners were borrowing readily based on the equity of their home. Interest rates were low on home equity loans, encouraging homeowners to leverage their portion of homeownership.
During the recession, however, all of that changed. People owed more money on their mortgages than their homes were worth, and banks became reluctant to lend.
In recent, years, however, house prices have been creeping back up, and banks and homeowners alike have gained confidence in the equity of their home.
As a result, a growing number of homeowners are turning back to home equity loans and lines of credit as a source of low-interest financing.
So, what exactly are these loans and credit lines?
The difference between a home equity loan and a line of credit
A home equity loan is a lump sum of money that you borrow which is secured by the value of your home. Typically, home equity loans are borrowed at a fixed rate. Lenders take into consideration the amount of equity you have in your home, your credit history, and your verifiable income.
A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is a bit different. Like a credit card, you are able to borrow money as you need it via a credit card or checks. HELOCs often have variable interest rates, which means even if you’re approved for an initial low rate it could be increased. As a result, HELOCs are better suited for borrowers who can withstand a higher leverage of risk and variation each month.
Is now a good time to borrow?
If you’re a homeowner, there’s an understandable temptation to use the equity you’ve built over the years to your advantage. In some cases, home equity loans and HELOCs can earn you better interest rates than other forms of borrowing.
However, as with other loan types, it’s important for homeowners to realize that HELOCs and home equity loans are not the same as having cash in your savings account.
Another danger that borrowers face is the potential for foreclosure if things go badly. While most lenders won’t seek foreclosure after a few missed payments, your home has been put up as collateral for repaying the loan. Most lenders will choose to sell a defaulted loan to a collections company rather than seek foreclosure.
Ultimately, the best course of action is to avoid borrowing unless it will help you out financially in the long term. However, for those with high home equity who may, for one reason or another, need to borrow, a home equity loan or line of credit might be the best choice.