Setting the Right Expectations for House Hunting

Buying your next home is an exciting prospect. Sometimes we can get swept away with the features we want in our new homes. So, let’s bring things back to reality and think about what you NEED your new home to have. Check out the tips below to help keep you on track when you start house hunting.  

Create a Budget

One important thing to do before you start is to find out how much you can spend on a house. Once you figure this budget out, you can use a mortgage calculator to better understand your mortgage monthly payments (see Texas Loan Star for more information).

Using some kind of budgeting program will help give you a clear picture of how your mortgage payment fits into your monthly expenses. You’ll want to make sure you have plenty of money left over at the end of the month for savings, improvements, and m other miscellaneous items.

Prioritize what you need, what you want and what you can live without

Sit down and think about what your new house absolutely must have. We’re not talking about a bathroom, kitchen or bedroom either. Those are fairly standard for the vast majority of homes. Think about whether you need to be closer to work to have a better work-life balance. Is the house close to a good school? We’re talking about essentials – things you cannot live without.

Next think about what you want your new home to have that your current home doesn’t have. Think of these as upgrades.

Cut out the what can you live without

The pie-in-the sky stuff, like your own personal basement bowling alley, would be nice; however, you can probably continue to live perfectly fine without it. Is it worth it to spend thousands of dollars more on those luxury items when you could use that money elsewhere?

Take your list and start house hunting

Make a plan with your real estate agent and start looking at homes online to see what homes are out there and compare them with all of the items on your list. This will help you see if you can get everything on your list within your budget. If you can’t find a home you can afford with everything you want, it’s time to re-evaluate.

Re-Evaluate your list

Look back at your list and see where you can cut. Remember, you can always change things like flooring, carpet, paint, cabinets and appliances.

An updated, ready-to-use kitchen, for example, would be great, but maybe you can use the money you save on a lower priced house to update the kitchen later. You might even save money by doing the work yourself.

Finding the right home might take a little time. Preparing ahead of time, knowing what you really want in a house and having the right expectations makes the process easier and less stressful. Good luck!

Call Texas Loan Star at 713-802-0606 for more information!

4 Tips to Help Sell Your Home Fast!

Some for-sale homes sell quickly. Others languish on the market for weeks or even months. If you need to move in a hurry, you might wonder how to see your home fast. Here are four tips on how to sell your home fast:

  • Price to Sell

The surest way to sell your home quickly is to set an asking price that’s low enough to make your home attractive to buyers, but not so low that the price looks like a deceptive and deliberate ploy. If your asking price is reasonable, you should get multiple bids, which usually will settle around your homes true market value. Price too high and buyers will stay away, leaving you with a stale listing, slow selling home and multiple price reductions.

Always use recent sale prices of comparable homes, called “comps” to set your asking price because buyers will use this data to make their offers. Buyers don’t care home much you paid to buy your home, how much you owe on your mortgage, how much your home was worth during the last housing boom, how much you’ve spent to maintain and improve your home, or how much you need to buy your next home.

  • Clean, Declutter and Depersonalize

Buyers want to imagine themselves moving in and living in your home as if it were theirs. If your home is full of your stuff, buyers don’t have the space, mentally or physically, to imagine where they’ll put their own furniture and belongings. Make that space for them by removing anything of yours that might be a distraction, and clean, clean, clean your home so buyers’ wont picture themselves scrubbing up your mess after the home becomes theirs

  • Paint and Stage

If you have a little money to spencer and a week or so to prepare your home, the best investments your can make are a fresh coat of paint, inside and out, and a professional stager who will arrange your furnishings and home accessories to show your home in a way that will appeal to as many buyers as possible. Stagers also can bring in neutral looking artwork, artificial plants, accent tables, linens, throw pillows and other items to make your home look nicer than other homes on the market. Other good investments are professional carpet cleaning, fresh grout for bathroom and kitchen tiles, and colorful flowers planted in front of your home.

  • Work with your Realtor (The most important one)

Some homeowners are tempted to try to sell their home by themselves as a for-sale-by-owner, or FSBO. Few do so successfully. Work with your Realtor to come up with a marketing plan designed to sell your home fast. Explain that you have a short time frame and need quick results, and ask how soon you can expect to receive offers and close your sale. Your Realtor can help you price your home, make required disclosures to buyers, respond quickly to buyers’ agents, show your home buyers and negotiate a price, terms and closing date that fit your needs. Be honest about your home’s condition in online photos (or work to improve the look), so buyers won’t be disappointed when they see your home in person.

By using these four tips, your home has a better chance at selling fast!

I Have a Great Credit Score: So Why Can’t I Get a Mortgage?

When it comes to getting a mortgage, the discussion almost always boils down to credit score. While that’s a great indicator of someone’s financial stability and habits, is it the only thing mortgage loan officers are worried about?

Thankfully for those with bad credit, there are a variety of factors that go in to the decision of whether or not to give out a mortgage. If you’re struggling to get a mortgage even though your credit is in good shape, read on to find what the culprit might be.

Debt-to-Income Ratio

Your debt-to-income ratio is one of the most important factors your lender will check besides your credit score. Debt-to-income ratio is the discrepancy between how much you owe in debt and how much income you generate.

Your ratio should work out to be 45% or less, so your annual debt payments should not be more than 45% of your annual income. This figure shows lenders how capable you are of making future mortgage payments, as well as whether or not you have too many outstanding debts.

Cash in the Bank

Buying a home comes with many costs you need to pay for on top of the mortgage, including closing costs, insurance premiums, taxes and home owners association fees. Your lender will want to see that you have enough money to cover these expenses for up to six months.

Past Homeownership History

If you’ve previously been a homeowner, the bank will want to see if you paid that mortgage on time. Having a short sale of foreclosure may also preclude you from being approved for a certain length of time.

Other Issues

Factors that may prevent you from getting approved also include applying for a loan that’s more than 2.5 to 3 times your annual salary, and having a shaky work history. Lenders like to see stability in an applicant, so being flaky in any areas of your life may turn them off.

Tips for Getting Approved:

Ask someone to cosign

If your profile isn’t as substantial as you’d like it to be, a cosigner can help strengthen your case for a loan. Be aware that you’re asking someone to put their credit score on the line, so make sure you’re able to make all the payments on time and in full. There’s nothing more guaranteed to destroy a relationship than ruining someone else’s finances.

Be prepared to apply

              It helps to have all your necessary documents ready for your mortgage officer. The faster you can respond to requests for more information, the faster your request will be approved. An applicant will need their two most recent paystubs, previous two years’ W-2’s and tax returns, two month’s bank and investment statements, insurance bill, property tax bill and most recent mortgage statement.

Save a 20% down payment

              Not only will a large down payment help you get better interest rates and more mortgage product options, it will show lenders that you’re capable of saving. For people who are self-employed or have other negative circumstances, a large down payment can overcome worries from a nervous lender.

Pay down debt

              If your debt-to-income ratio is one of the reasons you’re not being approved for a mortgage, take time to become debt free before applying for a home loan. If you’ve been saving for a down payment, use some of that money to pay down your debt. By elimination some of your debt, you’ll also increase your cash flow and prove to a potential lender that you have enough money coming in to pay a mortgage.

Look for less than you can afford

              Many people try to buy a house with the maximum amount of money a lender will give them. Instead, try to apply for a loan that’s less than what you might be approved for. That way, you’ll have more leeway in your budget and will have a better ability to repay the loan.

For more information, contact us today!