If you’re thinking about buying a new home soon, you’ve taken the first step to homeownership! Are you excited? You should be! Homeownership is an exciting journey. After all, the home you’ll be in will be YOUR home, not your landlord’s. Before we get carried away in what colors you’re going to paint the walls or stain the floors, let’s not put the cart before the horse. There are lots of common home buying mistakes to avoid. Do not be one of those homebuyers! Here are the most frequent home buying mistakes that our team encounters and want you to avoid. 1. Looking for a house before getting pre-approved for a mortgage This is the number one home buying mistake, no doubt. We know this isn’t the most exciting part of buying a new home, but it’s one of the most essential. In this phase of the home buying process, you will work with a mortgage banker to see what your financial state is and if you qualify for a mortgage . You and your mortgage banker will look at your credit report, your debt, how much money you’re able to put down on a mortgage, the different types of loans you qualify for, payment options, and more. Once you take the time to make sure you are in good financial shape to buy a house, then you can be off to the races to house hunt with your realtor! 2. Not considering a local lender If you bank with a large bank, it may be an easy decision to go with that financial institution for your home loan. Before you apply with a big bank, consider the local lender around the corner from your house. Working with a local lender gives you the features of a big bank with the personal service of ...
The Mortgage Bankers Association recently reported that home refinances are up 210% from last year’s levels. Interest rates have a lot to do with that. After all, when rates drop, monthly housing payments can also decrease, potentially saving homeowners thousands of dollars through the life of the loan. Let us look at what the mortgage market looked like before the COVID-19 crisis, and what it looks like now. Pre-COVID-19 mortgage rates Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting shelter-in-place orders enacted for the majority of the country during the month of March, the mortgage market was arguably the strongest it had been in over a decade. Rates continued to reach historical lows, and the housing market was stable. Then, we were hit with the pandemic. What does the current mortgage market look like now? Current mortgage market The current mortgage market has had to adjust to the current economic situation, which has placed restrictions on certain loan types, but many homeowners are still able to refinance their homes. In some cases, it’s easier to be approved for a refinance because you have a good history of paying your mortgage. Also, homeowners have the added benefit that rates are continuing to drop; that alone is often a big enough reason to pursue a refinance. Did we mention that you don’t need a down payment to refinance? Will a refinance benefit you? Ask yourself these questions. Will your interest rate go down? Will a refinance result in lower monthly costs? Will the savings be enough to pay the refinance costs within 3 years? Will you own the property long enough to recapture ...
The COVID-19 pandemic that has spread across the world has brought with it, not only concerns for our physical health, but also our financial health. According to the Labor Department, 1 in 5 Americans has lost a job or seen a reduction in work hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic since the middle of March. If you are one of these people that has been negatively affected financially, we have some tips for you to manage the financial storm that you may be in currently: from taking stock of your current finances, to messages of encouragement from others who are in the same boat as you. Take financial inventory The first thing to do is to assess your current financial situation. This is as simple as making a list of your current expenses and any income you have at the current time, along with your total assets. Your expenses include the usual rent/mortgage, utilities, auto payments, gas, etc. Assets include any financial resource that is available to you during times of hardship. An example of an asset could include savings accounts, checking accounts, stocks, bonds, etc. You will also want to review areas of your budget that you can cut back on such as a gym membership, lawn maintenance, take-out, or delaying any luxury items from being purchased. Once you go through your finances, set up a temporary monthly budget and stick to it. You may have to cut back on expenses for a while, but that is only temporary. Modifying your budget during this time will help you stay afloat Taking this important step will give you a clear idea of where you are financially and will allow you to determine what course of action you need to take. ...
How Real Estate Attorneys are Making Closings Safe for Everyone During the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic in Georgia, the real estate and mortgage industries have made rapid changes in order to keep the market going during a difficult time. To keep our promise for every borrower to Experience Mortgage Excellence , we want to keep you informed on these changes. To keep customers safe, our local closing attorneys are offering multiple ways to close mortgage loans. Here are just a few ways attorneys and title companies are changing their processes to continue to offer various formats of in-person closings. • Open conference rooms • Outdoor closings • Drive-up closings Traditional Conference Room Closings Many of our closing attorneys are continuing to offer in-person closings that take place inside the closing attorney’s office. The attorneys and their staff have implemented sanitizing and social distancing procedures to ensure the safety of everyone. Many closing firms are leaving all doors to and from the lobby open Borrowers will be provided with a new pen or may be asked to bring their own pen to prevent reuse. If you bring your own pen, it must be blue ink. In most purchase and sale closings, borrowers and sellers are signing in separate rooms to reduce having too many people in the conference room at once. Closing attorneys are also limiting closing attendees to include only the necessary parties in the room to comply with all safety guidelines set forth by the local, state, and federal governments. Additionally, some firms may ask that you call the office before coming inside in order to limit the number of ...
Why is April National Fair Housing Month? Beginning in April of 1968, National Fair Housing Month has been observed during the month of April. The Fair Housing Act gives all citizens of the United States equal rights to the sale, rental, and financing of housing with no discrimination based on race, color, national original, religion, sex, familial status, or handicap. In addition, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibits discrimination in any aspect of a credit transaction based on marital status, age, receipt of public assistance income, or exercise of rights under the Consumer Credit Protection Act. A Brief History of the Fair Housing Act The Fair Housing Act was signed into law in April of 1968 after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is formally titled, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, and it is a landmark piece of legislation for the United States. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is tasked with enforcing the Fair Housing Act. Anyone that believes that he or she has been discriminated against, or believes their civil liberties listed in the Act have been violated can file administrative complaints with HUD. HUD and its Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity is responsible for investigating all Fair Housing Act claims. What is the Fair Housing Act? Under the Fair Housing Act, discrimination in residential real estate transactions is prohibited based on race, color, national original, religion, sex, familial status, or handicap. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act is a separate act. It prohibits discrimination in credit transactions based on race, color, religion, ...