Jay Costantino's Blog
If you’re a first time homebuyer and want to start weighing your mortgage options, you’ll have much to learn. With so much at stake, you’ll want to make sure you choose the best mortgage for you now, and one that will still suit your needs years into the future.
Sometimes, first time buyers are hesitant to ask questions they may consider too basic because they don’t want to seem inexperienced to lenders, agents, or anyone else they’ll be in contact with throughout the home buying process.
So, in this article, we’ve compiled a list of commonly asked mortgage questions that first time buyers might want to ask before heading into the process of acquiring a home loan.
What is the first step to getting a mortgage?
This question may seem straightforward, however the first step can vary depending on your financial situation. For those who already have saved up for a down payment and built a solid credit score, the first step is probably contacting lenders and getting preapproved or prequalified.
However, if you aren’t sure about your credit score and haven’t saved up for a down payment (ideally, 20% of what you hope to spend on the house), then you should address those matters first.
To find a lender, you can do a simple Google search for the mortgage lenders in your area, or you can ask around to friends and family to find out their experience with their own mortgage lenders.
What does it mean to be pre-qualified and pre-approved?
If you think of the mortgage process in three steps, the first step would be getting pre-qualified. This means you’ve given the lender enough basic information for them to decide which type of mortgage you’re eligible to receive.
Pre-approval includes collecting and verifying further details. At this step, you’ll complete a mortgage application and the lender will run a credit check. Once you’re pre-approved, your file can be moved to the underwriting phase.
What are closing costs?
“Closing costs” is an umbrella term that covers all of the various fees and expenses related to buying or selling a home. As a buyer, you are responsible for paying numerous closing costs. These can include, but are not limited to, underwriting fees, title searches, title insurance, origination fees, taxes, appraisal fees, surveys, and more.
That sounds like a lot to keep track of, however your lender will be able to give you an accurate estimate of the total closing costs when you apply for your loan. In fact, lenders are required to give you a list of these costs within three days of your loan application in the form of a “good faith estimate” of the closing costs.
What will my interest rate be?
The answer to this question is dependent upon numerous factors. The value of the home, your credit score, the amount you put down (down payment), the type of mortgage you have, and whether or not you’re paying private mortgage insurance all factor into the interest rate you’ll receive. Interest rates also will vary slightly between lenders.
You can receive a fixed-rate mortgage that does not fluctuate throughout the repayment term. However, you also typically have the option to refinance to acquire a lower interest rate, however refinancing comes with its own costs.
The decision to buy a house may be one of the biggest choices that you make in your lifetime. As such, a potential home purchase should be fully evaluated to ensure you can achieve the best-possible results during the homebuying journey.
Furthermore, it may be beneficial to discuss your homebuying plans with family members, friends and other loved ones. There are many reasons why you may want to share your homebuying plans with loved ones, and these reasons include:
1. You can gain homebuying insights that you might struggle to obtain elsewhere.
Loved ones frequently are happy to share their homebuying insights with you. Thus, if you keep loved ones up to date about your homebuying plans, you may be able to gain comprehensive real estate insights that you won't find anywhere else.
Let's not forget about the past homebuying experiences of loved ones, either. If a loved one had a positive or negative homebuying experience, you may be able to learn lessons from this event that could help you navigate the homebuying journey.
2. You can look at the big picture.
Oftentimes, the temptation to rush through the homebuying process can be overwhelming, particularly for a first-time homebuyer. If you consult with loved ones, however, you can slow down and look at the big picture as you prepare to pursue your dream residence.
Loved ones are unafraid to be honest, especially when it comes to a life-changing decision like buying a house. Therefore, if you reach out to loved ones before you enter the housing market, you can assess your short- and long-term plans and map out your homebuying journey accordingly.
3. You can get the help you need to succeed.
No one should be forced to pursue a house on their own. Lucky for you, loved ones are available who can help you discover your ideal residence in no time at all.
Sharing your homebuying plans with loved ones may enable you to get plenty of support throughout the homebuying journey. Plus, if you ever have concerns or questions as you pursue your dream house, loved ones are ready to assist you in any way possible.
As you prepare to embark on a home search, you may want to consult with a real estate agent too. In fact, a real estate agent will ensure you can enjoy a seamless homebuying experience, regardless of where you want to live.
Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you informed about new residences as they become available and help you submit offers on houses. This housing market professional also will negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf, guaranteeing that you can get the best price on any home, at any time.
Ready to kick off a successful home search? Connect with loved ones – and a real estate agent – and you can get the assistance that you need to find your dream house.
If your initial offer to purchase a home is countered, there is no need to stress. In fact, there are lots of reasons why you should negotiate with a house seller, and these include:
1. You can speed up the homebuying journey.
The homebuying journey may prove to be long and complicated. If you find a house you want to buy, however, there is no need to wait to submit an offer to purchase this home. And if a seller wants to negotiate with you, it may be worthwhile to work with this individual so you can acquire your ideal house.
A homebuying negotiation enables you to try to reach a house purchase agreement with a seller. Plus, if you and a seller cannot come to terms, you can always reenter the housing market and continue to search for another home that matches your expectations.
2. You can find common ground with a home seller.
When it comes to buying a home, it is important to avoid submitting a "lowball" offer to purchase. If a buyer submits a lowball property buying proposal, he or she risks alienating a seller. Worst of all, a seller may be more likely than ever before to reject the buyer's proposal and move forward with other offers to purchase.
Thanks to a homebuying negotiation, you can come to terms on a home purchase agreement that works well for both you and a seller. As a result, both you and a seller will be satisfied with the final terms of a home purchase agreement.
3. You can pay the lowest price for your dream home.
If you feel a seller's initial asking price is too high, negotiating with this individual offers an excellent opportunity to get the best price for your ideal house. And if you open up negotiations with a seller, you could acquire a terrific house at a budget-friendly price.
Of course, it is crucial to consider the seller's perspective during a homebuying negotiation. If you maintain constant communication with a seller, both you and this individual can work together to finalize a home purchase contract.
Negotiating with a home seller may be stressful, regardless of whether you are buying a house for the first time or have purchased residences in the past. Fortunately, if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive expert support as you negotiate a home purchase.
A real estate agent is happy to negotiate with a house seller on your behalf. He or she will keep you up to date throughout a home purchase negotiation. Best of all, a real estate agent will do everything possible to help you purchase your dream house at the lowest price.
For those who want to achieve the optimal results during the homebuying journey, it generally is a good idea to negotiate with a seller. If you are willing to negotiate with a seller, you could acquire your dream home faster than ever before.
Getting a professional inspection is one of the most important parts of closing on a home. An inspection can save you endless time and money if it catches repairs that need to be made, and it can draw your attention to any problems that could be dangerous to you and your family.
Many buyers, especially those who are buying a home for the first time, aren’t sure what to expect during a home inspection. They might have questions that they’re afraid to ask the inspector, or they might feel like they should be asking questions but don’t know the right ones to ask.
In this article, we’ll give you the rundown on the home inspection process. We’ll explain how to get started, what to expect on inspection day, and what to do with your findings.
Before closing on a home, it’s important to make sure your offer involves a contingency clause, otherwise known as a “due diligence contingency.” This section of your contract gives you the right to perform a home inspection within a given number of days.
Sellers may inform you that they have recently had the home inspected and even offer to show you the results of the inspection. However, it is best practice to have your own inspection performed with a trusted professional.
After your offer is accepted, you should begin calling and getting quotes from inspectors immediately.
Before the inspection
Once you’ve considered your options of inspectors and chosen an inspector, it’s time to schedule your inspection. Both you and your real estate agent should attend the inspection.
You’ll both have the opportunity to ask questions. However, it’s a good idea to write down your minor questions and ask them before or after the inspection so that the professional you’ve hired is able to focus on their work to do the best possible job inspecting your future home.
During the inspection
The inspection itself is pretty straightforward. Your inspector will examine the exterior and interior of your home, including several vital components and then will provide you with a report of their findings.
They will inform you of repairs that need to be made now, parts of the home that should be monitored for future repairs, and anything that poses a safety concern to you and your family.
The parts of your home the inspector will review include:
Heating, ventilation, air conditioning
There are some things your inspection won’t include. For example, mold, termite damage, and other issues that aren’t easily observable without causing damage might be missed by your inspector and will require a specialist.
After the inspection
Once the inspection is complete, you will have the chance to ask any remaining questions. You can review the findings of your inspection report and make decisions about how you want to handle any repairs that need to be made.
You may choose to ask the seller to make the repairs noted in your inspection report. If they refuse, you can withdraw from your contract at any time.
Ultimately, the choice will be yours what to do with the findings from the inspection. But having one can save you immeasurable money on impending repairs that you may not have been aware of.
If you intend to purchase a house, it helps to submit a competitive offer. In fact, if you submit a competitive offer, you may be better equipped than ever before to enjoy a fast, seamless homebuying experience.
Ultimately, there are many reasons to submit a competitive offer on a home, and these include:
1. You can increase the likelihood of an instant "Yes" from a home seller.
Let's face it – no home seller wants to deal with a "lowball" offer on a house. Fortunately, a competitive offer helps improve your chances of receiving an instant "Yes" from a seller, thereby increasing the likelihood of a stress-free homebuying experience.
A homebuyer who allocates the necessary time and resources to understand a house and its strengths and weaknesses should have no trouble defining a competitive offer. Then, this buyer can submit a proposal that accounts for a house's age and condition. And if a seller accepts the homebuying proposal, both the buyer and seller can work together to finalize a purchase agreement.
2. You can open the lines of communication with a home seller.
Although a competitive home offer may suit your interests, it may not match a seller's expectations. However, a buyer's decision to submit a competitive proposal may open the lines of communication with a seller.
If a buyer submits a lowball proposal on a house, he or she may receive an immediate rejection from a seller. Comparatively, a competitive home offer may force a seller to consider his or her options closely. And even though a seller may not be fully satisfied with the proposal, he or she could counter the offer and negotiate terms with a buyer.
3. You can avoid the risk of overspending to acquire a residence.
A homebuyer who analyzes the real estate market can find out what a home is worth based on a variety of housing sector conditions. Therefore, this buyer can submit a competitive offer, one that minimizes the risk that he or she will overspend to acquire a residence.
When it comes to putting together a competitive home offer, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional can work with you throughout your home search and ensure you can pounce at any opportunity to purchase your ideal house.
A real estate agent understands all aspects of the housing market. He or she will help you search for residences in your preferred cities and towns. Plus, once you discover your dream house, a real estate agent will make it simple to put together a competitive offer.
Furthermore, a real estate agent is happy to respond to your concerns and questions throughout the homebuying journey. This housing market professional will offer expert homebuying insights, enabling you to make the best-possible homebuying decision.
Limit the guesswork associated with submitting a competitive homebuying proposal – use the aforementioned tips, and you can make an aggressive offer on any house, at any time.