Posted by Peggy Farber on 2/24/2016

Some people think that bigger is better even when it comes to buying a home. Before you buy the biggest house your budget allows you may want to consider if the size of the home is what will make you a happy homeowner. Besides the size of the home there are many other factors to consider, here are a few things you may want to think about when buying: Your Commute Often times a bigger home is one that has a longer commute. So would you choose a bigger home over a shorter commute? When considering a longer commute most home buyers significantly underestimate the negatives of a long commute like high stress levels, poorer health, and less active social lives.  Swiss economists, Bruno Frey and Alois Stutzer coined what they call “the commuters paradox”. They found that someone with a one-hour commute must earn 40% more money than someone who walks to work to be as satisfied with life. Community Another thing that can affect buyer satisfaction is the quality of a surrounding community Think about the community your home would be in. Is it a subdivision? Do you have to drive to get places? How far away are neighbors or stores? Walkable communities have more active residents, they are better for the environment and help us save money too. Studies have shown residents of a walkable neighborhood on average weigh 6 to 10 pounds less than someone in a car-dependent one. Walkable neighborhoods also give us more opportunities for social interaction. The more neighbors walk around the more involved they are in the community. Ultimately the more community involvement the happier people are.        





Posted by Peggy Farber on 12/30/2015

When buying a home and shopping for a mortgage there are lots of new and unknown terms and one of those is often PMI. What is PMI? PMI stands for private mortgage insurance and chances are if you are first-time buyer you will have to pay it. First things first, PMI is for the lender, not for you. Typically, homebuyers who put down less than 20 percent on their homes are required to pay private mortgage insurance. PMI protects the lender in the event that you default on the loan. Mortgage insurance requirements vary by loan type and are not inevitable. Different loan types will have different mortgage insurance requirements. You will want to shop around because some loans have no PMI requirements at all. If your loan has PMI some lenders may offer something called “lender paid mortgage insurance” in exchange for a slightly higher interest rate. Here are some typical loans and the PMI requirements: FHA loans: Require mortgage insurance to be paid up front and monthly if equity in the home is less than 20 percent. VA loans: Do not require mortgage insurance. USDA loans: Do not require mortgage insurance. Conventional loans: Require mortgage insurance if equity is less than 20 percent. If you have to pay mortgage insurance you are not stuck with it forever. Once you reach an equity position of 20 percent or more you will be able to stop making mortgage insurance payments.  When you reach this position notify your lender, who will send you information on what is required for your specific loan program to get rid of mortgage insurance payments.





Posted by Peggy Farber on 11/11/2015

You've been thinking about buying your first home and it is a very big decision. It is typically not a decision you make overnight instead you need to take the time prepare yourself.  Here are the basic steps that you should follow when it is time to buy a home.

  1. Ask are you ready? Home ownership is quite different than renting. It is a lot more expensive than renting. You will have added expenses and responsibility. There will be expenses like repairs, added utility costs, such as garbage and water, plus taxes and insurance related to your home. You will want to make sure to have an emergency fund, before you purchase your first home.
  2. Shop for a loan. Your first step will be to get preapproved. Knowing how much you can afford will help you to look for homes within your price range.
  3. Figure out how much you can afford. Just because you are preapproved for a certain loan doesn't mean you can afford that in the real world. A good rule of thumb is to keep your mortgage along with your taxes and insurance between twenty five and thirty percent of your income. You don't want to be house poor.
  4. Use a real estate professional you can trust.  A good real estate professional will listen to your wants and needs carefully. It is important that you are also educated on the process of buying a home. A good real estate professional will help meet your needs while navigating you through the process and advocating for your best interests.





Posted by Peggy Farber on 7/22/2015

According to Lawrence Yun, the National Association of Realtor's chief economist, the spring housing market is starting off strong. "If activity is sustained near present levels, existing-home sales will see their best performance in five years. The NAR expects sales to rise between 7% and 10% in 2012. What does that mean? Strong demand has melted away inventory in some housing markets with investors and first-time buyers vying for bargains, homes are being snatched up as soon as they hit the market. Prices may not be shooting up, but homes are once again selling at a rapid clip in many markets, draining the multiple-listing services and turning up the competitive pressure on buyers. Multiple offers and bidding wars are back. Lately if a buyer is not there the first day a home comes on the market, it's gone. When a quality property that is priced accurately comes on the market, it's not going to sit around. In some areas the competitive environment has already begun to nudge prices up slightly. Bargain prices and historically low interest rates are bringing buyers back. The belief among buyers is that the housing market has already turned the corner and that there won't be a better time to land an affordable home. National Association of Realtors President Moe Veissi, broker-owner of Veissi & Associates Inc. in Miami, says market conditions are improving as supply and demand have become more balanced.





Posted by Peggy Farber on 7/8/2015

Buying your first home can be confusing. Securing a mortgage is one of the most important parts of the home buying process. Making sure that you have the right loan and have chosen the right loan officer are among the things a first time buyer has to do to start the process. Here are some more tips on how to ensure a successful purchase: 1. Make sure your deposit is in order. Talk to your loan officer about what amount of a deposit is required for the purchase and type of loan. You will also want to make sure the funds are accounted for and readily available. You can expect deposits to run anywhere between 3 and 20 percent of the purchase price. 2. Plan to have a cash reserve in addition to your deposit. You may want to have a reserve of at least two months mortgage payments. 3. Ask your lender to go over all the fees that apply to the purchase. It is better to be prepared and know how much the actual purchase will cost. These costs are typically added into your loan but there may be some out of pocket expenses too. 4. Consider how much you can comfortably afford not how much you have been approved for. These numbers may vary considerably. Your mortgage costs should not be more than 30% of your household income. 5. The lowest rate is not always the best deal. You will want to look at not only the rate but also the terms and fees associated with the loan.