Pamela McArdle's Blog
The decision to buy a house is probably the best decision you would ever make. Deciding is the easy part; coming up with the capital to finance the dream is the hard part. Getting a home of your own has its perks, but it can be a daunting process to acquire.
Usually, prospective homeowners seek mortgage loans when they need to get a house they can afford. The traditional mortgage has its terms and conditions for granting out loans. You must satisfy the terms and conditions before such loans become available.
So, what happens if you do not qualify for a mortgage payment? Does this mean your ‘American Dream’ of owning a home would not see the light of day? There are other channels prospective homeowners can seek loans from aside the traditional mortgage. They include:
Lease-to-own is an agreement between the seller and the buyer. The seller rents the house to the buyer temporarily if the buyer can come up with enough money as a down payment. The rent installment paid, out of which a certain amount goes into an escrow account as money to use in securing the home. The contract is usually between a year after which the buyer pays for the balance of the property or packs out and leave.
Borrow from Your Retirement Account
Borrowing from your retirement account is like borrowing from yourself, but this should only be short term. You will pay a penalty fee of 10% if you are not up to the age of 60 years for taking out money from your retirement account - and you would pay taxes on the amount borrowed. If you lose your job during the process, you must pay back the money borrowed within 60 days.
Borrow from Your Insurance Policy
What’s the harm in borrowing from your insurance policy especially if your insurance policy allows you to take a loan against your principal? You don’t have to return the money, but you would get less than the amount you or your heir were supposed to get paid when the policy matures. You can apply for the loan through your insurer directly and bear in mind that the rates vary.
Save Enough for A Down Payment
This method seems like the most convenient, but it requires you to exercise patience. Most lenders now do not need 20% as a down payment anymore but if you can’t come up with enough money as a down payment–save enough until you qualify for a traditional mortgage.
Get A Co-Signer
Getting a friend or a relative to co-sign with you is a great way to increase your chances of qualifying and to secure a loan, especially when they have a higher credit score than you.
Buying a home requires rigorous planning, and it is capital intensive. Weigh all your options before finally deciding.
Mortgage scams are everywhere, and many times are well disguised so they can be hard to uncover. Not all mortgage lenders have your interest at heart so when you go out for a mortgage loan, keep an eye on these warning signs and Mortgage scams are everywhere, but this time around they come like a wolf in sheep clothing, so it is pretty hard to uncover them. Not all mortgage lenders have your interest at heart so when you go out for a mortgage loan, keep an eye on these warning signs and be prepared to run away from any lender who does the following shady actions:
They pressure you to borrow more than what you want or need
Even though you are eligible for a certain sum of money that does not mean you have to spend heavily on buying a home. Paying less on a home purchase will prevent you from living from hand to mouth in your new home. An honest lender understands and will respect your choice to borrow less than you can afford instead that encouraging you to overspend or splurge on a house.
They rush you into signing documents without reading it
Getting a mortgage is complicated. There are piles of complicated paperwork, so it is crucial that you wrap your head around every document before putting your pen on it. If a lender encourages you or uses the familiar phrase "Everything is fine," it is best you withdraw yourself f from the mortgage. No matter how busy the bank may be, they would give you time to read through the papers.
They don’t give you a Good Faith Estimate
According to law, after three days of applying for a mortgage, a bank must provide a Good Faith Estimate showing your mortgage rate, closing cost, and other mortgage-related expenses. This way, a borrower will clearly understand their cost and know the estimated amount you will pay at closing. A shady lender typically does not provide this, so make sure you request one. Many banks hide this information to prevent borrowers from comparing the cost with other banks.
They use the bait and switch on you
To get more borrowers and get them excited about taking a mortgage, disreputable lenders promise borrowers one set of terms, but when it gets to closing, they deliver a different set of conditions. It is the sad truth some lenders get borrowers excited and take advantage of them when they're in a state of euphoria to alter the loan terms at the dying minute. If a lender uses this tactic on you, request an explanation. And if their reasons do not seem reasonable to you or your realtor, do not sign the mortgage documents.
They give you a blank loan form to sign
When going over mortgage document with your loan officer, be watchful for any blank forms or lines, and make sure the lender fills in all relevant information before you sign.
Getting a mortgage is not a stroll in the park. Experts recommend that you consult your attorney, local credit counseling agency or financial advisor to be on a safe side.
Home buying and selling can be a complicated process, especially for first-timers. The vocabulary involved will only compound your confusion if you jump right into it without knowing what they mean. Real estate, like other fields, has some terms that are peculiar to it. Before you set out to list your home for sale or seek to buy one, it is good to understand some valuable real estate terms you will encounter in the process. Here are some words you must know when involved in a home purchase:
In the real estate market, every property has unique qualities owing to its different conditions and structures. An appraisal determines the estimated value of a piece of real estate based on specific criteria. Appraisal reports by a certified real estate appraiser are used to resolve mortgage loans and taxation issues.
A purchase contract is a written document that contains the contract price and other terms of a property sale. The property is said to be 'under contract' when both the buyer and seller have reached an agreement and signed a formal offer and acceptance on the sales price and contingencies.
A listing agent is a real estate specialist operating with a license. They are in the real estate market to help home sellers advertise, market, and sell their homes. They represent the seller during negotiations and charge a commission on the sale.
A buyer’s agent represents the interest of a buyer during negotiations on a home purchase. They usually charge commissions for bridging the gap between the buyer and the seller, but the seller pays the commission.
Debt-to-income ratio, or DTI, is an essential factor that mortgage lenders consider before granting you a mortgage for your new home purchase. It shows how much your debt load is. You can calculate your DTI by dividing the sum of your debt expenses and your monthly housing bill by your gross monthly income, and then multiply by 100. Arriving at a percentage higher than thirty-six percent, after calculating your DTI, points to the need for adjusting your budget.
An escrow company functions as an unbiased third party that monitors the transaction process. They ensure that all parties involved follow proper procedures before closing the deal and hold the earnest money until buyers and sellers sign all paperwork.
After a buyer indicates an interest in purchasing a home, a percentage of the selling price is paid immediately to the seller but placed into escrow. This money is called earnest money and indicates the buyer’s serious intent to purchase. If the buyers decide to back out, a contingency in place can help them recover their money. However, when the transaction goes through successfully, the money becomes a part of the buyer's down payment.
These are conditions that need to be fulfilled for the home sale to go forward. A home appraisal is a common contingency clause. Another is a financing contingency which is the required time frame for a buyer to raise funds to acquire the property. A popular contingency is the length of the closing process.
Always ask your real estate agent to explain any terms you do not understand so that you can make the right decisions.
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When you think of buying or selling a house, the first thing that comes to mind may not be the legal aspects associated with the process. You may want to reconsider this rather boring part of the process as an important one. Hiring a lawyer can help both buyers and sellers to get through many hurdles that buying a home can present.
There will be many negotiations and a lot of back and forth throughout the process of buying a home. Everything that’s involved with buying a home needs a contract for it to be legally binding. A real estate attorney will negotiate on your behalf and be sure that the contracts adhere to all state and local laws. The lawyer will also help you to address issues that may affect the future of the property such as botched inspections, liens against the home, and other items that could affect you as the home buyer.
Real estate attorneys will perform what is called a title search. This allows them to see if there are any outstanding liens or judgements against the house. This title search will also make sure that the seller has the right to actually sell the property that’s being sold. An attorney can do all of this much quicker than the average person since they have working relationships with title companies.
Transfer Of Property
If a property is being transferred through a corporation, trust, or partnership, things can get complicated. It’s good to have an attorney who is used to working with these complex situations and understands the legal boundaries within the state or municipality that the property is in.
If You Choose Not To Have A Real Estate Attorney
Many times, a real estate attorney isn’t required to buy a property. It is advisable to have one, however. Without an attorney you increase your chances of problems arising in the future. You run the risk of:
- Being sued for failure to disclose information
- An improper property transaction takes place
- You could miss relevant facts about the property
- Failing to file the correct documents at both the state an local levels
- Deeds are not transferred
- Building permits weren’t correctly filed
Having a real estate lawyer on your side is important due to the complex nature of property transactions. While some states require that an attorney be present throughout your property transaction, many states do not have this stipulation. You are smart to hire a competent real estate attorney to protect your own interests as either a buyer or a seller.