Posted by Amanda Bruen on 2/20/2018

We all know that buying a home is expensive. For first-time buyers who donít have the luxury of equity for a down payment, it can be difficult to find a way to finance your home without taking on a huge interest rate and mortgage insurance.

Fortunately, loan programs like those offered by the U.S. Veterans Affairs can be a godsend. However, there is a great deal of confusion around who is eligible for VA loans and how to acquire them.

So, in todayís post, weíre going to cover some of the frequently asked questions of VA loans. That way, you can feel confident in knowing whether or not itís a good financing option for you and your family.

VA Loans FAQ

Who is eligible for a VA Loan?

VA loans arenít just for veterans. Most members of the military, including Reserve and National Guard members can apply. Additionally, spouses of service members who died from a service-related disability and those who died on active duty can apply as well.

How long do you have to service to be eligible?

The VA defines eligibility as having served no less than 90 days of service during wartime and 181 days of continuous service during peacetime.

Who are VA Loans offered by?

Like any other loan, VA loans are offered by private lenders. The difference is that VA loans are guaranteed by the government. That means that the federal government takes on some of the risk of lending to you, therefore making it possible to secure a loan with little or no down payment.

Should I make a down payment on a VA loan?

If you have the means, making a down payment will almost certainly save you money in the long run. If you can put down 10% of your total mortgage amount, you can also significantly reduce the VA Funding Fee.

Will I have to pay private mortgage insurance?

Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is something that borrowers pay on top of their mortgage payments and interest. This additional insurance helps borrowers buy a home with a small down payment. VA loans allow you to secure a mortgage without PMI.

Are VA loans different for active duty, National Guard, and Army Reserve members?

Each type of service member is eligible for a VA loan. However, there are some minor differences regarding the VA Funding Fee. With no down payment, an active duty member would pay 2.15% of the loan amount in fees. National Guard and Army Reserve members pay around 2.40% with no down payment.

What does my credit score need to be to get a VA loan?

The VA doesnít have a set minimum credit score. However, the private lenders that offer the loan do. On average, the lowest credit score that you can secure a VA loan with is around 620. That being said, a higher score will secure you a lower interest rate, saving you money over the lifetime of your loan.

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Posted by Amanda Bruen on 1/2/2018

A home showing represents an important opportunity for a homebuyer. And if you know the right questions to ask during a home showing, you can obtain the insights you need to determine whether a residence is right for you.

Ultimately, there are several crucial questions to ask during a home showing, and these include:

1. Why did the seller list this home?

There are many reasons why an individual may choose to sell his or her house. Yet this information rarely, if ever, is included in a home listing. Fortunately, a home showing gives you the opportunity to analyze a seller's perspective as you weigh the pros and cons of submitting an offer to acquire a residence.

If a seller listed a house due to severe home maintenance issues that have escalated over time, this is a red flag for any buyer. On the other hand, if a home seller simply is looking to upgrade or downgrade or prefers to live elsewhere, you may want to further pursue his or her residence.

2. Is there any flexibility on the home price?

The initial asking price of a home usually is flexible, but only to a certain extent. Determining the level of flexibility on an initial asking price is paramount, as this may dictate the offer that you make on a house.

However, it is important to submit a competitive home offer, regardless of whether a seller is flexible about the price of a residence. Because if you submit a competitive homebuying proposal, you can reduce the risk of missing out on an opportunity to purchase your ideal residence.

3. Is there anything else I need to know about this home?

Following an in-depth home showing, you likely will have lots of information about a house and its condition. To conclude the showing, you should ask if there is anything else you need to know about a residence. This will enable you to receive the final pieces of information you need to decide how to proceed with a home.

Remember, it is your duty as a homebuyer to make an informed decision. If you understand exactly what to ask during a home showing, you can obtain the insights you need to determine the best course of action.

When it comes to preparing for a home showing, it helps to get assistance from a real estate agent too. In fact, hiring a real estate agent will make it simple for you to navigate the ups and downs of the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent is happy to set up home showings and attend these events with you. He or she can provide comprehensive home insights throughout a home showing. Plus, after a home showing, a real estate agent will help you decide whether to submit an offer on a house or continue your pursuit of your dream residence.

Get ready for a home showing Ė collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can receive the help you need to fully analyze a house.

Tags: Buying a home   showing  
Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Amanda Bruen on 10/10/2017

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 Amanda Bruen on 8/29/2017

Thereís numerous reasons why the name on a title to a home may not be the same as the name thatís on the mortgage loan. These reasons include:

  • Only one buyer had stable credit
  • Only one person was on the loan application
  • One person was released from the mortgage

No matter why this is the case, having your name on the mortgage but not on the title to a home can affect you and people residing in the home in different ways. 

Why Would Only One Name Be On The Mortgage?

If people are looking to get a home or refinance a home, but only one person has good credit a decision must be made. For the best possible mortgage rates, youíll want to person with the best credit to be the primary loan holder. This may mean that you need additional legal documents in the process.  

The person with lower credit may still be able to have their name placed on the title to the home. Anyone who plans to contribute financially to a home, even if not on the mortgage, should place their name on the title. This would be one instance when a name would be on the title to a home and not on the mortgage loan. In this case, a person has property rights, but no legal-financial responsibility to the home. Itís important to agree on the home arrangement that youíre considering. This would be done through a will or a legal contract. This way, all parties are protected in regards to the ownership of the home should something happen to the individual whose name is on the mortgage.

Legal Things To Consider

Those who are listed on the mortgage are the people who are responsible for house payments. If a personís name isnít on the mortgage, it doesnít release them from complete responsibility from the home. If your name is on the title to the home but not on the mortgage, the bank generally has first dibs on the home if thereís a lapse in payments. If you want to keep living in the house, youíll have to keep making payments on the home. If you canít make the mortgage payments, youíll risk going into foreclosure. 


An issue that can come up if your name is not on the mortgage is that you cannot use the home youíre living in as a tax deduction. Even if you make payments on the home, in order for you to get tax benefits, your name must be on the mortgage stating that youíre legally responsible for the home. If you are paying for the mortgage because your name appears on the title to the home, you arenít legally entitled to pay, giving away your rights to tax benefits. If youíre married, filing jointly, and only one name appears on the mortgage, however, you can use this as a tax deduction. This becomes an issue if two unmarried people buy a home together.  

Ask For Legal Assistance

Whenever you have an issue with the title of your home or with names on the mortgage, itís good to consult legal counsel. The attorney can assist you in determining who is legally responsible for the home and if the people listed on the title of the home are correct. This can help save you from trouble at a future date.

Since credit scores and loans can get messy at times during the home buying process, itís good to understand all the implications of home mortgages and titles.

Tags: Mortgage   Buying a home  
Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Amanda Bruen on 8/15/2017

Employing a real estate agent offers an ideal first step for those who want to buy the perfect residence, and for good reason.

With a real estate agent at your disposal, you'll be better equipped than other homebuyers to find a wonderful house at a price that matches your budget. Plus, your real estate agent will be able to help you navigate each stage of the homebuying process.

What should you expect after you hire a real estate agent? Here are three things that will happen:

1. You'll narrow your home search.

What are you looking for in the perfect house? Ultimately, you'll need to narrow your home search to ensure that you can discover your dream residence without delay.

Luckily, your real estate agent will allocate the necessary time and resources to help you narrow your home search. By doing so, you'll be able to move one step closer to finding a first-rate home that you can enjoy years to come.

2. You'll visit a wide range of high-quality houses.

Your real estate agent will set up home showings and keep you up to date about open houses in your area. That way, you can stay on top of the housing market, browse a broad array of top-notch residences and find one that suits you perfectly.

As you browse houses, don't forget to provide your real estate agent with questions. This will enable you to make a more informed decision about how to proceed following a home showing or open house.

Furthermore, your real estate agent wants feedback to guarantee that you can explore houses that correspond to your lifestyle and budget. And if you view a home that fails to meet your criteria, let your real estate agent know immediately. This will make it easier for your real estate agent to find houses that meet or exceed your expectations, and as a result, may help you accelerate the homebuying process.

3. You'll submit your first offer on a home.

If you've reviewed a variety of houses and find a residence that you would like to purchase, now is the perfect time to submit an offer.

Your real estate agent will offer recommendations to ensure that you can submit a competitive offer on a house. In addition, this real estate professional can provide details about how long a home has been available, if a home seller has lowered the price of a residence recently and other factors that may impact your initial proposal.

Submitting an offer on a house can be stressful, but you can always reach out to your real estate agent for support. Your real estate agent will keep you up to date about whether a home seller accepts, rejects or counters your offer. And if you receive a "Yes," your real estate agent can help you take the next step toward acquiring your dream home.

Before you begin a home search, hire a real estate agent Ė you'll be happy you did. A real estate agent can simplify the homebuying process and help you achieve your homeownership dreams.

Tags: Buying a home  
Categories: Uncategorized