Posted by Amanda Bruen on 12/26/2017

Whether youíre a first-time homebuyer or someone who has previously owned a home at some point in their life, you most likely know how expensive buying a house can be.

Fortunately, there are many organizations who would agree and who seek to help qualified buyers. There are a number of programs available at the state, local, and federal level designed to help certain buyers purchase a home.

There are also a number of myths around these programs, such as what the term ďfirst-time homebuyerĒ really means.

In this article, weíll talk about some of the programs you can look into to get help paying for a home.

Who Qualifies as a First-Time homebuyer?

Contrary to what it sounds like, you can still qualify as a first-time homebuyer if youíve owned a home in the past. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has been helping people achieve their goal of homeownership since the 1930s. The FHA connects first-time homebuyers with lenders if the buyer meets certain criteria. Those criteria are:

  • Someone who hasnít owned a home in the time previous three years. This includes spouses.

  • A single parent who previously owned a home with a former spouse, or a ďdisplaced homemakerĒ who has only owned a home a former spouse.

  • People who have only owned homes that didnít meet building code or a residence not fixed to a foundation.

The way the FHA helps buyers secure an affordable home loan is by insuring the mortgage. This makes it safer for lenders to approve you for a better rate for your home loan.

Veteran, Rural, and Native American Loan Programs

Aside from FHA loans, you might also qualify for a VA loan, a USDA program, or the Section 184 Indian Home Loan program.

VA loans from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs help veterans secure low-interest loans with affordable down payments. They will also help repeat veteran home buyers who have had financial difficulties in the past such as foreclosure and bankruptcy.

The Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program works similarly to an FHA loan in that the federal government insures the loan so that the buyer can receive a better rate and lower down payment.

This program is designed for American Indian and Alaska Native families. However, not every state is eligible for the loan.

The United States Department of Agriculture is another federal department that offers mortgage assistance. You donít need to be a farmer or have agricultural aspirations to be approved for a USDA loan. Rather, these loans are designed to help develop rural areas by offering loans with no down payments.

State, Local, and Private Programs

Each state in the United States offers various buyerís assistance and incentive programs. Be on the lookout for programs specific to your area to find low-interest rates and affordable down payments.

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other companies work with lenders to create affordable lending programs throughout the country. Remember to shop carefully when dealing with private lenders and look out for hidden costs.





Posted by Amanda Bruen on 11/21/2017

When you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you may be excited to find out that you can afford a lot more house than you thought you could. Donít be so fast, this is just what you can get a loan for. The bank doesnít know a lot of factors about your finances. While you most likely had to provide a ton of income verification statements and information in order to get this ballpark figure, relying solely on the pre-approval number can put you in a bind when it comes to your finances. Your lender doesnít know certain things like how much you spend on groceries or how much your cell phone bill is each month. 


What Lenders Consider


Lenders look at the health of your credit history, how much income you have and how much debt you have. These are the big factors that tell your lender about how much house you can afford. Yet, your home lender is not your financial advisor and canít help you with household expenses and the like. When thinking about what price range of home you really can afford, consider these factors beyond the bank:


Your Monthly Budget


Your spending habits will ultimately affect your ability to pay the monthly mortgage bill. If youíre spending all of your disposable income, then you may not be able to afford much at all beyond what youíre already paying for rent. You donít want to stretch your finances so thin that you wonít be able to afford food! 


Owning A Home Requires Additional Costs


Lenders do factor into their number the cost of homeownerís insurance and property taxes, but donít consider other things like utility bills, trash pickup and home repairs. All this can certainly add up when youíre a homeowner! 


Your Savings Is Nonexistent


If youíre unable to save any money at all if youíre a homeowner, then youíll be in trouble. You need money stashed away in case of unemployment or an emergency. You also may be planning for things like retirement and future costs like childrenís education. For the initial purchase of a home, youíll need upfront payments available for the down payment and closing costs. However, youíll need some more savings beyond that for everything that life brings your way!  


You Have Big Plans


Are you thinking of quitting your job and heading out to start your own business? Now may not be the best time to buy a new house. These changes could have a huge impact on your finances and leave you unable to pay your mortgage. Your lender wonít be asking about these plans, so youíll need to know what the future holds (for the most part ) in order to keep your own finances secure. 


The bottom line is that anything that could leave you financially stressed is not a good idea. Considering that buying a home is one of the biggest purchases you'll ever make, you want to be sure that you keep your finances in check during the purchase process.  




Tags: budgeting   Mortgage   loans  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Amanda Bruen on 11/7/2017

Thereís many different myths about buying a home that may have been presented to you as fact. All of these rumors could have you believing that being a home owner is a dream. Here, weíll debunk some of the most common misconceptions about home buying and give you the tools to solve any issues that you may come across in the process of securing a home loan.


If You Donít Have 20% To Put Down On A Home, You Canít Buy


Many conventional loans do require a 20% down payment on a home. Thereís also many different loans available that may suit your needs. From Federal Housing Administration loans to Veteranís programs to down payment assistance programs, thereís many different things that can be done to help you buy a home. Keep in mind that any time you put less than 20% down, youíll need to provide additional mortgage insurance, also known as PMI or private mortgage insurance.  


If Your Credit Score Is Terrible Youíre Out Of Luck

If you want really good mortgage rates, having great credit is very important. If your credit score is low, your rates tend to be much higher. A really low credit score could keep you from getting a loan completely. FHA loans allow you to still qualify for a loan with a credit score as low as 580.


You Need To Make Bank To Get Money From The Bank


Monthly annual income is just one of the factors thatís considered when it comes to getting a loan to purchase a home. Your debts matter just as much if not more. People with significant credit card debt and other loans may be denied a home loan even if they have a substantial income. 


Youíre In The Clear If Youíre Pre-Qualified


Pre-qualification is much different than pre-approval. Pre-qualification involves giving your lender basic information about your finances in order to estimate how much of a loan you can get. This will give you a ballpark figure of about how much youíll be able to borrow. Of course, this is very helpful in the home search process, but youíre not done. To get pre-approved, youíll need a complete mortgage application in order to have your complete financial background check and credit rating.  


If Youíve Met One Real Estate Agent, Youíve Met Them All


This couldnít be further from the truth. Your relationship with your real estate agent is going to be quite close. Youíll need to share somewhat personal information in order to secure a house youíll love. Agents are involved in one of the biggest decisions that youíll ever make. Each agent has his or her specialties and knows different neighborhoods better than others. Definitely go with a real estate agent that you feel comfortable with and knows their stuff.  


Closing Costs Arenít Your Responsibility


Sometimes, sellers do pay the closing costs in the sale of a home. It all depends upon how the negotiations go with the home. Youíll need to be prepared for upfront costs in buying a home. These include a credit check, attorney fees and property insurance. As a buyer, youíll be paying anywhere between 2 and 5 percent of the purchase price of the home.  


Itís important to be prepared and to stay informed in order to make sound financial decisions throughout the process of purchasing a home. Everything will be that much more exciting when you have all of the pertinent information that youíll need.




Categories: Uncategorized  


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. 


Taxes


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 1/17/2017

Making the decision to buy your first home is a big step. One of the most uncertain parts thatís involved in buying a home is that of securing a first-time mortgage. Youíll need to know what types of programs exist to help you on your journey to homeownership. Even if you have owned a home in the past but are now renting your home, you may be eligible for first-time mortgage benefits. 


The first thing you should do is understand your options for getting a mortgage. The Department of Housing and Urban Development often provides you with agents to help you see whether you will, in fact, qualify for a first time mortgage and all the benefits that go along with it. They may also help you to see exactly what programs will work best for you. You can find agencies in your specific area on the HUD website. 


Each state and local municipality have its own resources for those seeking to buy a home as well. These programs may get more specific, helping low-income earners, first-time home buyers and people with disabilities. Of course, youíll need to meet certain eligibility requirements before qualifying for the programs. Your state and local housing offices are other great places to start when youíre searching for benefits for first-time home buyers.   


Save, Save, Save! 


Even before you think you might be ready to buy a home, you need to start saving. Youíll need a significant down payment, especially if youíre hoping to avoid private mortgage insurance or PMI. If you canít swing a 20% down payment, thereís good news: First-time home buyers are eligible for loans that require a lower down payment- as little as 3%! 


Youíll also need a significant amount of savings to pay upfront for closing costs. These fees can come in somewhere between 3 and 4% of the purchase price of the home. It wonít be very pleasant if your bank account is completely empty by the time you reach the closing table. This is why itís a wise idea to save long before you even think you might want to buy a home.      



Look At Your Finances


In the same light of saving money, youíll want to keep your financial health in check in order to prepare to secure your first mortgage. First, check your credit score and see where you stand. You can take the time to dispute any discrepancies you may find on your report. Then, start paying off any credit card balances that you may have. Remember that the higher your credit score is, the better your chances are of securing a mortgage and being approved for a first-time home buyer program.







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