Mike O'Keefe's Blog
After you submit an offer on a home and complete a property inspection, there may be only a short amount of time until you close.
Ultimately, it pays to prepare for closing day. If you start planning for your home closing today, you can identify and address any potential problems.
To better understand how to get ready for a home closing, let's take a look at three questions to consider before your closing.
1. What needs to get done before my closing date?
Your closing date may be a few weeks away, but time moves quickly, particularly for a homebuyer who wants to get into a new residence as quickly as possible. Fortunately, homebuyers who understand what needs to get done prior to a closing can plan accordingly.
Typically, a homebuyer will need to secure homeowners insurance and title insurance before closing on a house. Insurance companies are available to provide information about both types of insurance. If you reach out to these companies immediately, you can guarantee that your home and personal belongings will be covered against loss or damage.
You'll need to contact utilities providers as well. That way, you can ensure that your gas, electric and other utilities are good to go as soon as you close on your home.
2. How much are my monthly mortgage payments?
You know that you've been pre-approved for a mortgage. However, if you don't know how much that you'll be paying for your home each month, you'll certainly want to find out sooner rather than later.
Monthly mortgage payments can add up quickly, particularly for homebuyers who fail to budget properly. If you know exactly how much that you'll be paying each month for your home, you can effectively map out a budget.
3. What do I need to bring to my closing?
Homebuyers are required to bring a government-issued ID to a closing. In some instances, you may need to provide a certified or cashier's check to cover assorted closing costs as well.
If you are unsure about what to bring to a home closing, it often helps to consult with a real estate agent. In fact, this housing market professional can help you seamlessly navigate all stages of the homebuying cycle.
Prior to a home closing, a real estate agent is happy to respond to any concerns or questions that you may have. This housing market professional will explain how the home closing process works, how long the process generally takes to complete and, perhaps most important, when you'll receive the keys to your house.
A real estate agent also goes above and beyond the call of duty to provide assistance throughout the homebuying journey. He or she can help you compare and contrast a broad range of houses, submit a competitive offer on a home and ensure that you can discover your dream residence in no time at all.
Get ready for a home closing – consider the aforementioned questions, and you can prep for your closing date.
Want to list your house? Ultimately, you'll want to work with an expert listing agent, i.e. a housing market professional who knows what it takes to get the best price for a residence.
Let's face it – hiring a listing agent can be tough, particularly for a first-time home seller. Lucky for you, we're here to help you streamline your search for the perfect listing agent.
Now, let's take a look at three tips that you can use to find the right listing agent for your house.
1. Learn About a Listing Agent's Background
Evaluating a listing agent's background often serves as a great first step in the home selling process. It allows you to better understand how long a listing agent has worked in the real estate sector and learn about his or her industry expertise.
In most cases, you should have no trouble finding information about a listing agent online. Or, you can always call a listing agent's office for more information.
Allocate the necessary time and resources to learn about listing agent's background. That way, you can understand this housing market professional's experience, education, networking skills and much more and plan accordingly.
2. Conduct a Face-to-Face Meeting with a Listing Agent
If a listing agent looks good on paper, invite him or her to meet with you. By doing so, you can gain first-hand insights from this housing market professional and find out what separates him or her from other listing agents.
Prepare a list of interview questions before a face-to-face meeting with a listing agent. This will enable you to get the insights you need to make an informed decision.
Also, evaluate a listing agent's communication skills and personality. If you feel comfortable with a listing agent after a face-to-face meeting, don't hesitate to hire this individual to help you sell your residence.
3. Get Client Referrals
How has a listing agent helped past home sellers optimize the value of their properties? Request client referrals from a listing agent, and you can receive additional insights into how this real estate professional has supported home sellers over the years.
A top-notch listing agent should be able to provide you with multiple client referrals. Meanwhile, it only takes a few minutes to reach out to a listing agent's past clients and learn about their home selling experiences.
Client referrals can help you accelerate the process of finding the right listing agent. Moreover, they can provide insights into what it is like to work with a listing agent throughout the home selling cycle.
Lastly, be sure to ask past clients how a listing agent approached challenges throughout the home selling process. If a listing agent went above and beyond the call of duty to help past clients overcome myriad home selling challenges, he or she probably will be able to help you do the same.
Selecting the right listing agent may seem impossible at first. But with the aforementioned tips, you can choose a listing agent that will promote your residence to the right groups of homebuyers consistently.
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Buying a second home is an exceptional opportunity. You can expand your real estate portfolio, creating an investment strategy for building wealth over the long term. It’s also nice to have a home, one you can use on the weekends to get away. Whether you want to buy a home on the beach, on a lake in a densely wooded area or a home across the country, your first step is securing financing.
Know the Costs of Buying a Second Home
Purchasing a second home does mean more responsibility. It may mean a second mortgage, insurance costs and property maintenance. You’ll be paying utilities, upkeep and taxes on a multiple properties. Using this information, calculate how much you want to spend each month in these areas. Then, you can start looking for the home that fits.
Work to Build Your Down Payment
Buying a second home affordably is easier to do when you can apply a sizable down payment. Most often, home buyers need between 3 and 20 percent of the purchase price available as a down payment. The more you have, the less you finance or the larger of a home you can safely purchase.
With second homes, you may have additional avenues for securing that down payment. This includes savings, of course, but it may also include borrowing against the equity in an existing home to use as a down payment.
Choosing a Loan Program for Your Needs
One of the challenges of buying a second home is proving to lenders you can afford the mortgage payment and other costs. There are loan programs available to help you, but the options are somewhat limited in terms of federally sponsored programs. You may have used a VA or FHA loan, for example, to purchase your first home. These are generally just for the primary residence, not second homes.
However, there are other loans available to you. Conventional loans, which are still some of the most commonly sought-after loans available, are available to most people. Lenders will look at things such as:
Like any other home loan, it will be backed by the value of the home you purchase. In that way, the home must be worth at least as much as you plan to borrow.
Debt-to-income ratios tend to be a big factor for most lenders. Fannie Mae-based loans often require a ratio that is up to 45 percent if you have at least 25 percent down and a moderate credit score. That means your monthly payments need to be under 45 percent of your gross income.
It’s also important to consider how you plan to use the property. Lenders need to know if the home will be vacant (getting insurance for it can be difficult). They also want to know if you plan to produce a second income from it. If so, you need to ensure your loan covers this type of use.
The good news is that most conventional lenders off second home loans. Find the dream home you’ve been looking for, and then work with a lender to secure the purchase.