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Buying Your First House After 60

House buying is always an exciting process. Stressful but still exciting. The feeling of owning a property you can call your home is indescribable. Therefore, in this article, we chose not to pay attention to numerous homebuying myths, such as that buying a house at 60 years old isn’t a good idea. Instead, let’s focus on how you can fulfill your wishes now that you are financially stable and plan out your retirement. The following article shares tips for buying your first house after 60. 

Tips for buying your first house after 60

Moving homes, even if you were a renter for many years, brings significant changes. Thus, it can be difficult, no matter what your reasons are. For example, you might want to buy your first house because now is the right time or be closer to your family. 

For whichever reason you are purchasing a home, you can do a couple of things to make the transition seamless. For instance, hiring a professional realtor to find the best match for you and then hiring a moving company skilled at senior relocations to assist in this process is of extreme value. Then, with the right people on your team, each home buying and relocating will be as easy as possible since they have your best interests in mind.

So, without further ado, let’s look at the tips for seniors on their first homebuying adventure.

1. Hire a realtor 

First things first, you need to hire someone professional to lead you through the process. It’s worth keeping in mind that there’s a difference between a realtor and a reliable realtor. Also, you’ll want to make sure the one you end up hiring has credentials, so don’t be shy to ask them about those.

a realtor with a happy senior couple

Caption: Hiring a Senior Real Estate Specialist is beneficial when buying your first house after 60.

Alt tag: a realtor with a happy senior couple

If your agent is also a Senior Real Estate Specialist, that can only mean they undoubtedly know what they’re doing. This means they have completed training to specifically help people in the 50+ range successfully buy a home. 

2. Check your mortgage options

As a senior, you might have saved up enough money and decided to buy a house and pay in cash. It is an excellent idea if you are not tying up all of your money in the home. Additionally, paying in cash will make you a competitive buyer in the market.

On the other hand, buying a debt-free home isn’t a must. Purchasing your first house after 60 with a mortgage makes your assets liquid. You can still qualify for a competitive mortgage in retirement.

Luckily, there are helpful tips for each generation in the home buying process to help you understand how mortgage approval works when you’re not working. 

Finally, it would be wise to check with your bank or credit union if mortgage insurance is worth the cost of the premiums. It would be good to have this one, especially if you are risk-aware.

3. Understand your needs, don’t just go for what looks good

The houses you will consider greatly depend on your living situation, income, and plans. However, it would be wise not to be influenced by the property’s floorplan, size, convenience, or location. Instead, you will need to evaluate things differently as a senior buyer.

For instance, large houses might be appealing. However, you might quickly become overwhelmed by all the space you have to maintain after some years pass. 

4. Consider the future when buying your first house after 60

As a senior home buyer, your future will be focused on taking care of yourself instead of your children and family. 

Therefore, it would be a good idea to look for homes that can easily be remodeled. For example, you might want to look into houses that can be equipped with handicap-accessible features, such as ramps, lower countertops, and doorways.

At a minimum, a home appropriate for aging-in-place should have complete first-floor living with a wide doorway (wide enough for a wheelchair), ideally a step-free entrance, and be close to public transit and community resources.

5. Understand your budget

Apart from your monthly mortgage, you need to be aware of all the other costs. Some of the everyday expenses are:

  • property taxes
  • utilities
  • car petrol
  • medical bills
  • groceries
  • some other debts you might have
  • any potential repairs and miscellaneous expenses.

It would help if you considered all of these factors when home shopping in your sixties.

a man's hands stacking up on three piles of coins

Caption: You will need to think of all the expenses before committing to a home purchase.

Alt tag: a man’s hands stacking up on three piles of coins

6. Be realistic about your future health needs

When talking about finances, it would be good to consider what they will be like ten years from now. What type of needs will you have then? If the need arises, will you have the means to hire in-home caregivers? Will you need someone to transport you somewhere or take care of your lawn for you?

Even though we don’t think about the future in this way, it’s wise to be realistic when deciding on such a big step. The seniors who have a strong support system from their children and family don’t have much to worry about. However, sometimes the help of a loved one isn’t enough. For example, your house might need a professional repair, like converting your home to be wheelchair accessible. 

Therefore, it would be good to think about your finances in the future and how you will cover some unexpected expenses.

7. Determine your relocation

Finally, once you find the right home, the work isn’t done yet. The moving still awaits. The relocation specialists from Zippy Shell Moving and Storage NV recommend looking for a reputable company with experience in senior moving. Professional movers have the tools and expertise needed for heavy lifting, maximizing packing space, and transporting the items while ensuring safety.

Additionally, you can be in charge of handling your smaller keepsake items if you wish. However, the heavy lifting is best left to a professional to reduce any injury risks to yourself or your things. 

buying your first house after 60 means stability and more quality time with your spouse

Caption: Once you relocate, you can enjoy the process of giving the house your personal touch with your spouse.

Alt tag: buying your first house after 60 means stability and more quality time with your spouse

Final considerations 

To summarize, buying your first house after 60 isn’t impossible or that difficult. With the right people on your team who know all the tricks on homebuying, we are sure you will find a home suitable for you, your financial situation, and your future plans.

Meta description: If you’ve rented your whole life and now want to have a secure place to grow old at, here are the tips on buying your first house after 60!

Photos used:

https://www.pexels.com/photo/senior-couple-spending-time-in-yard-of-suburban-house-7728101/

https://unsplash.com/photos/jpqyfK7GB4w

https://www.pexels.com/photo/couple-sitting-beside-a-businessman-8815835/

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Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by homeowners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

new home

Buying or Selling in 2022? Look for an Agent with These 10 Qualities

Key Takeaways:

  • In today’s hot market, it’s more important than ever to choose the right agent to help you buy or sell a home.
  • Real estate agents don’t just offer local expertise—their insider knowledge and marketing prowess come in handy, too.
  • Thinking about making a move in the new year? Contact us to start planning now!

Here Are the Top 10 Qualities Every Successful Real Estate Agent Should Have

Did you know that 75% of buyers and sellers work with the first agent they meet? It’s true—but that doesn’t mean it’s the best decision. If you want to come out on top in today’s competitive market, experts often recommend interviewing a few candidates before settling on the right real estate professional for the job. And if you’re not sure where to start, we’ve outlined 10 qualities of a highly successful agent.

They keep up with the latest sold data

Analyzing real estate sold data

Whether you’re buying or selling a home, you’ll want to keep up with the latest sold data for your neighborhood of choice. Sold data reports consist of homes that recently sold in your area, as well as their final prices. Not only do these numbers help sellers determine an accurate list price, but they can also be used by buyers to gauge an area’s affordability. A top-notch agent should be willing to provide you with up-to-date data every step of the way.

They know what’s happening in the real estate market

It’s hard to know what the real estate market will look like next year. But with careful forecasting, a local agent should be able to provide some valuable insight. Agents can educate buyers and sellers on everything from price fluctuations to mortgage rates—just make sure they’re using accurate data to back up their predictions.

They’re social media savvy

Real estate agent using social media

Nowadays, home-buying and selling primarily happens on the internet. According to recent research, over 95% of buyers start searching for properties online, which makes it imperative that agents maintain an active presence on their social platforms. Be sure to ask your agent about the virtual tools they offer buyers and sellers, such as access to the MLS, social media promotion, and paid advertising. Bonus points if they have their own website, too!

They have a network of contacts

When it comes to buying or selling a home, it truly takes a village. A well-connected agent can refer you to their network of local contacts, such as plumbers, landscapers, lawyers, and so much more. You’ll rest easy knowing that you can trust their recommendations for local service providers!

Their referrals are positive

Buyer or seller leaving online feedback

If an agent provides legendary customer service, their past clients are more than willing to leave positive feedback—or even refer them to their loved ones! Ask your potential agent about their reviews, or take a look online to see what previous buyers and sellers have to say about working with them.

They’re punctual

This one should be a given! The current real estate market moves faster than ever before, which makes punctuality an even more important quality than usual. If your agent is on-time (or early!) to your appointments, you’ll know they’re treating you like a priority.

It’s easy to get in touch

Scheduling an appointment with a real estate agent

Keeping in touch is key when it comes to real estate, so you’ll want to share the same method of communication as your agent. Tell your agent from the beginning whether you prefer to text, email, or talk on the phone. Not responding in a timely manner is a big red flag.

They’re shrewd negotiators

Buyers and sellers alike should look for an agent with top-notch negotiation skills to get them the best possible price. And if you want to evaluate a real estate agent’s prowess, just ask yourself this question: how well did they negotiate with you to win your business?

They’ve built their own brand

Buyers getting the keys to their new home

Real estate agents don’t just help you buy or sell a home—they need to be expert marketers on both sides of the transaction. Solid branding can help agents rise to the top of the competition and build a reputation that people rely on, trust, and recognize. Exploring an agent’s social media and website can give you a good idea of their personal branding strategies.

You get along with them

When you’re trusting someone with one of your biggest investments, it’s crucial to get along on both a professional and personal level. If you can’t have difficult conversations with your agent—or if you don’t get along with them—consider going with another candidate. Personality can sometimes trump experience!

Find the Right Agent for Your Move

Ready to start planning your 2022 move? Now is the time to find the perfect agent for the job! Contact us today to learn more about what we bring to the table, or explore our other resources to get a head start on buying or selling. We’re always here to offer superior service throughout every step of the transaction!

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by homeowners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

Explaining the Buzz Around iBuyers—and the Buzzkill

Key Takeaways:

  • Some sellers have turned to iBuyers for instant cash offers on their properties, but they have consequently sacrificed the personalization of their home sale.
  • iBuyers use outdated algorithms to value properties, whereas real estate agents use to-the-minute statistics to generate accurate, competitive prices.
  • Work with our team of local agents to expertly price your property—and we can even start crunching the numbers for your updated home value today!

Here’s What You Need to Know About iBuyers

An iBuyer is a company that makes an offer on your property by using automated value-estimating technology. Rather than partaking in the traditional home sale process, some of today’s sellers are relying on iBuyers to make all-cash offers on their properties. And since iBuyers use automated estimators to price your home, these companies are able to make their offers almost instantly.

Sellers have varying considerations when it comes to their home sales—some prioritize earning top dollar, while others just want to sell as quickly as possible. So depending on your home-selling goals, iBuyers could be a valid option for you. However, no matter what you want out of your home sale, you should always have an expert real estate agent by your side to guide you through the process.

When pricing your home, you want accuracy—not algorithms

Realtor showing home

As the local market starts showing signs of a shift, there’s never been a more critical time to know your home’s true value. In the real estate industry, agents price your home through a process called a comparative market analysis (CMA). This process compares your property to recently sold listings in the area that share similar features to your own home. Based on the CMA results, our agents are able to generate a competitive price that will have buyers flocking to your door.

On the other hand, iBuyers use a software they refer to as an automation valuation model, which essentially uses an algorithm to quickly process a property’s data and compute an offer price. When setting a list price for your property, you don’t want to rely on automatic estimators that promise instant (but not accurate!) results—entrust a local agent instead! And when you work with us, one of our pricing experts will evaluate your property in-person to pinpoint its value-boosting features and deliver you an accurate price in real-time.

The ideal timeline of your home sale should be top of mind

couple planning their moving timeline

This is when your home-selling priorities come into play—if selling your home quickly is your absolute top priority, then working with an iBuyer might best fit your needs. Many iBuyers can make you a cash offer within two days of when they receive your property’s information. Then, if you accept the offer and schedule a home assessment immediately, you could close on your house anywhere from two weeks to two months later, depending on any necessary repairs.

Although the extraordinarily quick timeline of selling your home to an iBuyer may seem compelling, you also have to consider our local market—it’s still skewed towards sellers. According to a recent report by the National Association of Realtors, 87% of properties sold in August 2021 were on the market for less than a month. So with the ball still clearly in sellers’ courts, working with an iBuyer might not guarantee moving any sooner.

Need Selling Advice? We’re All Ears!

Ultimately, determining whether you should sell to an iBuyer is a personal decision based on your priorities. And as your local area experts, our agents are here to guide you through the home-selling process no matter which option you choose. Whether you need to sell your home this week or crave a competitive list price that will earn you a profit, you can count on us to accomplish your home-selling goals.

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by homeowners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

Take These Steps on the Path to Homeownership

Homeownership is undisputedly the Great American Dream. There is a good reason for that, especially as interest rates have dropped. And while the pandemic has changed the landscape of buying a home, with patience and the help of great real estate professionals like The Licata Group, you can make this a reality. If you’ve never walked this path before, there are a few steps you can take to help your dream come true. 

Step 1: Check Your Credit Score

Your credit score is a number that gives lenders a good idea of whether you’re financially responsible. Ideally, you’ll have a score of 720 or higher. You may be able to get a loan with a credit score of 580, but the higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate. It’s always a good idea to know what’s hiding on your credit report before you contact the lender.

Step 2: Know What You Can Afford

Knowing your credit score is only part of the puzzle. You also have to figure out how much you can reasonably afford for your mortgage. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, most lenders will also consider your debt-to-income ratio (DTI). Generally speaking, you are more likely to repay your loan if your DTI is 43 percent or less. Your credit score and DTI may also determine which types of loans you are eligible to receive. 

If you have very little credit, as many homebuyers do, you might want to consider an FHA loan. Often, you can put less money down and still walk away with a reasonable monthly payment. If your goal is the lowest mortgage possible, plan to put 20 percent down and stick to a 30-year loan. Fifteen- and 20-year loans are also available, and they can help you pay your house off faster, but they’ll cost more money each month.

Step 3: Find the Right Realtor

If you haven’t already, it’s time to start shopping for a reliable real estate agent. This is the person who will represent your best interests throughout the home-buying process. While it is technically possible to buy a house without this kind of assistance, keep in mind that a buyer’s agent does not charge you. Instead, barring a few exceptions, their time and expertise are compensated by the commission offered by the seller.

Step 4: Begin Your Search

Now that you have a handle on money, you can start your home search. First, determine how much home you actually need. Plan for the future and look for a home that will provide enough room to accommodate your lifestyle and space needs for the next five to 10 years. This is where the affordability factor comes into play, and your realtor will be able to steer you in the right direction. Note that on average, homes in Lake of the Woods currently sell for $335,000.

Step 5: Found It! Make an Offer 

When you think you have found the perfect house, put your game face on and make an offer. Depending on your local climate, you may want to offer close to the asking price – your agent can help you make that determination. Keep in mind, however, that even after they accept the offer, things may change depending on the home inspection and appraisal.

In a normal scenario, when your offer is accepted, things will move quickly, usually between four and six weeks. However, the pandemic could have an effect on how long you wait to close. Regardless, during this time, you’ll be contacted by your lender for additional information, and you will be in close contact with your agent. If everything goes off without a hitch, you’ll find yourself sitting at the title company on closing day, holding the keys to the next chapter of your journey.

 Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Fredericksburg, Stafford, Orange, Locust Grove, Culpeper, Northern Virginia or even Maryland or DC, we are your Real Estate team committed to finding the perfect home for you! Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by homeowners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar, and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, one of our area expert advisors will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available properties, please visit our website licatagroup.com

Image via Pexels

Should You Hire a Real Estate Agent or Lawyer When Buying a Property

When you’re thinking about buying property, one of the first questions that pop to mind is, “Should I do this on my own or hire some assistance?” In a huge majority of cases, the answer is that doing everything on your own will make the process much, much harder, and we’d also be very surprised if you got a good deal without some assistance. In most cases, the only real question is: “Should I hire a real estate agent or a lawyer?” Both can be of invaluable assistance when it’s time to buy a property, but the ways they can help differ. 

Why You Should Hire a Lawyer

What makes a real estate agent different from a lawyer when it comes to buying a property? First of all, by law, real estate agents cannot give legal advice. While you are not obligated by law to hire a lawyer when buying a property here (unlike in some other states), you may have some legal questions that only a lawyer can answer. For example, you may want to rent a property for some time (let’s say for a year) before making the decision on whether you should buy the property or not. If the seller agrees to that, an attorney can draft this unusual contract and provide legal advice on the matter that a real estate agent could not.

A good lawyer will help you by answering all the legal questions that a real estate agent cannot lawfully answer.

As lawyers charge an hourly fee, before buying a property and moving in with the help of experienced professionals from dumbomoving.com, it’s a good idea to make a list of all the legal questions you may have and arrange a meeting with an attorney. Then, you can ask everything you need, as well as make arrangements on all the additional services you may need that a real estate agent can’t help you with (drafting the contract from the previous paragraph, for example).

Why You Should Hire a Real Estate Agent

While a lawyer will help you with some specific parts of the home buying procedure, you’ll still need to hire a real estate agent as well. A real estate professional will be with you every step of the way, acting as a sort of a guide to your home buying process. And if you’re buying a property, you’ll be pleased to learn that sellers are the ones who will pay the agents of both parties. The commission is usually 10 percent of the arranged home price, divided equally between the two agents. The logic behind this rule is that sellers will be receiving a lot of money, and so they should be the ones to pay all agents who will take care of the buying-selling process.

So, if you hire a real estate agent, your wallet won’t have a problem with that; you will basically get an invaluable service for free. And what exactly does that service entail? Buying a property is a complex procedure – lots of paperwork will need to be done, inspectors will need to be hired, a comparative home prices analysis will need to be prepared, etc. While some lawyers will try to convince you that they can do everything on their own, that is most often not the case. Real estate professionals will be better at all of these tasks, simply because they have dedicated their lives to buying and selling real estate; they have much more experience and they know how to use it.

Apart from many other ways that a real estate agent can help you, he or she will be able to find a perfect house for you in the specified neighborhood.

This gives them an edge in all sorts of home-buying tasks. Apart from the ones we have already mentioned, they are also much better at negotiating. Let’s say that, for example, some parts of the home will need to be fixed. You’ll need to determine whether you or the seller will be the one who has to make these repairs. In this case, a good real estate agent will help you negotiate an arrangement that is better for you financially. What’s more, an experienced real estate agent who is a good fit for you will be acquainted with the neighborhood where you’re looking for your dream home. He or she will know just what to look for based on your description.

Additional Things to Have in Mind

So, should you hire a real estate agent or a lawyer? The answer is – why not both? Combining the individual strengths of these two professions will get you the best deal. Rely on attorneys for legal advice that a real estate agent cannot offer, and hire a real estate agent for everything else.

Before you hire a real estate agent and a lawyer who will seal the deal, you’ll need to have some things in mind. Alt text: A man signing a contract.

Still, simply hiring any real estate agent and lawyer is not enough; you will need to find a dependable and competent real estate agent, and the same goes for your lawyer. Here is what to look out for:

  • Sometimes, it may so happen that an opportunity to share a real estate agent with the seller emerges. In our opinion, that would be wrong to do. As real estate agents make a living off of commissions, they might be looking for the sellers’ best interest in this situation and not yours. Ethical agents who won’t do this certainly exist, but it’s best to be on the safe side anyway.
  • Real estate agents may press you to offer a higher price because of similarly unethical reasons. The more you pay, the larger their commission, after all. What’s more, some of them will be afraid to negotiate because doing so might mean that they won’t get to close the deal. If it seems that your agent doesn’t respect your opinion and is only looking to close the deal as soon as possible, it is best to find a different agent. Doing research on your own regarding home prices in the given neighborhood will help you avoid such unpleasant situations.
  • Most lawyers prefer to be hired and paid only after the home buying process is complete. However, it may suit you more to only pay for one consulting session or one or two specific tasks. That can be arranged, just have the arrangement in writing (better safe than sorry).

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Fredericksburg, Stafford, Orange, Locust Grove, Norther Virginia or even Maryland or DC, we are your Real Estate team committed to finding the perfect home for you! Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by homeowners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar, and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, one of our area expert advisors will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available properties, please visit our website lakeofthewoodsvirginia.com

Common Mistakes First-Time Homebuyers Make

Along with the excitement that buying your first home brings comes the apprehension about the decision. Millions of questions come to mind making your decision even harder to make. The best tip that you can get is to get informed. But, do you know what you have to get informed about? If you are thinking of buying your first property ever, take a deep breath and start reading through the most common mistakes first-time homebuyers make so that you can avoid making the same ones.

Starting a House Hunt Without a Financial Plan

Since you are buying your first home, it is understandable that you are very excited about the idea and impatient to find the right one. However, that doesn’t mean that you should start your search completely unprepared. You should at least know what price range to look at. Since the real estate market is quite competitive and demand is almost always higher than supply you should come prepared. That means that you should be pre-approved for a loan before looking at listings. Then you will be more acquainted with your financial prospects and you will know what you can hope to find. By the way, there are so many facts you should know about mortgage before you apply, so do not rush it.

First-time homebuyers should be prepared before house hunting, Alt. tag: A model of a house made of words FOR SALE

Sticking to One Mortgage Lender Only

A mortgage is also a product that you buy and can find at different prices with different sellers. Do not make a mistake by not comparing the quotes before committing. Choose at least three lenders and compare the estimates that you get. Remember, you are looking for a good deal as well as the lowest rates you can get. You cannot find those if you only consult one bank or lender. The same goes for finding skillful movers who can relocate your home – you need to make a list and then choose one company that suits you best.

Not Paying Attention to Your Credit Reports 

Your credit reports are extremely important to a bank or lender that you are considering taking a mortgage from. They will analyze every single detail of it, so you need to make sure that they like what they see. A credit report that contains errors may result in higher interest rates for you, so it is in your best interest to keep it as accurate as possible. The good news is that you can get a free credit report from any of the main credit bureaus at the end of a year so that you can correct any errors that you come across. The lenders need this report at pre-approval and before final loan approval. In the meantime, you shouldn’t be opening new credit cards and you should do your best to pay your bills on time every month.

Credit reports are extremely important to lenders, Alt. tag: Credit report of a first-time homebuyer

Thinking That You have to Make a 20% Down Payment

When you start calculating how much money you need for your down payment, you will probably ask yourself whether buying real estate is a good investment at all. Twenty percent of your future property’s worth is a lot of money to prepare before you even start searching for a home. Luckily, there are some loan programs that allow you to make a down payment as low as 3.5% or even 0%. It goes without saying that a bigger down payment means that you can get a smaller mortgage, so you will have more money left in your budget every month.

On the other hand, while you are saving money for your 20% down, the property prices continue to grow along with the mortgage. So, the decision is all yours and you need to make sure that you set a monthly payment that you can actually provide. And, do not forget that you are obliged to pay the mortgage insurance in case your down payment is less than 20%.

Not Considering Special Programs for First-Time Homebuyers

There are some special programs for first-time homebuyers that offer low down payment loans. You should inform yourself whether such programs exist in your state and learn about the following:

  • FHA loans – the down payment can be as low as 3.5%. Besides this obvious rebate, the Federal Housing Administration is not so strict about credit reports. But, once you commit to this loan, you will have to pay for mortgage insurance as long as you have the mortgage to pay, which means even after your equity is more than 20%.
  • USDA loans – if you are planning to buy a property in a rural area, the chances are that you qualify for zero percent down and 100% financing – a program offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If you opt for this program, you will have to pay the guarantee fee instead of mortgage insurance.
  • VA loans – mortgages offered by the US Department of Veterans Affairs to people who have served in the military. These loans allow veterans to put a down payment of zero percent and get 100% financing. A funding fee has to be paid instead of mortgage insurance.

Falling in Love With the Property and Failing to See its Faults

This can be a huge mistake. It often happens that we like the house, but it turns out that its neighborhood is not a place where we would like to raise our children. You should always visit the place at least two or three times, at different times of day and week, before you make a decision to buy. If you notice that there is something the seller is trying to hide, that should be a red flag to look for

First-time homebuyers are usually impatient to move in, Alt. tag: House door with keys

Wasting All Your Savings On Your First Property

This is one of the common mistakes first-time homebuyers often make. They do this to add to the sum for a down payment and lower the monthly payment rate. However, you still need to have an emergency fund (three to six months of living expenses) because there are so many things that can go wrong when you buy a property. It is better to pay for mortgage insurance and still have your emergency fund untouched, just in case. 

Not Knowing About the Hidden Costs of Ownership

There are many costs of ownership that first-time homebuyers do not know about. Property taxes, insurance (mortgage, hazard, and homeowners), repairs, maintenance, and utilities are just a few of them. 

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

Mortgage 101: What To Know Before You Apply

Everybody loves talking about mortgages. They’re fun, easy to understand, and a great icebreaker, right?….Wrong. Thanks to their lengthy process, technical jargon, and confusing options, mortgages have a bit of an intimidating reputation—but it doesn’t have to be that way!

If you’re in the process of buying a new home and dreading the mortgage application process, here’s what you need to know to keep things running smoothly. 

Know How Much You Can Spend

A person holding up money.

If you’re feeling antsy about getting started and want a general idea of how much loan you might qualify for, consider the 28/36 rule, or the Debt-to-Income ratio—AKA what most lenders use to help calculate your mortgage. 

Essentially, the 28/36 rule means that your monthly mortgage payment shouldn’t be more than 28% of your gross income. Additionally, your outstanding debts—like mortgage, car loans, student loans—shouldn’t account for more than 36% of your gross income.

Get Your Finances in Order

Statistics on a laptop.

Not seeing the numbers you were hoping for after calculating your Debt-to-Income ratio? Then, hopefully, you’ve given yourself a little time to shift things in your favor. Paying off loans, improving your credit score, avoiding big purchases—these will all help you change those numbers. 

Of course, completing those tasks is a little harder to do in practice than in theory, so you may have to take a look at your budget and see where you can cut out some extras—at least temporarily!

What You’ll Need to Apply

 

Paperwork.

In the weeks before you plan on applying for a mortgage, you should start collecting all of the documents you need. Since a lender will be telling you exactly how much money they’re willing to loan, they’ll need a comprehensive understanding of your finances beforehand. Start gathering things like:

  • W2s/tax returns
  • Photo ID
  • Your two most recent pay stubs
  • Current and prior addresses
  • Asset information (retirement funds, 401(k), stocks and bonds, other investments) 
  • Gift letters

Depending on the lender you choose, you may need additional documents, so consider calling in to double-check beforehand. 

Find the Right Mortgage

Three women pointing at a laptop.

Once it’s time to start thinking more concretely about applying for a mortgage, you have several options to consider. While all the mortgage options out there could easily fill a whole blog post on their own, here’s a quick rundown to give you a general idea:

  • Conventional/Fixed-rate:  The interest rate of a fixed-rate loan won’t change over time, making it a popular choice for its predictability. Conventional loans typically require a 20% down payment or mortgage insurance for smaller down payments.
  • Adjustable-rate: The interest rate of adjustable-rate mortgage will fluctuate over time, sometimes lower than fixed-rate, sometimes higher. There is a cap in place so the rate doesn’t get too out of control, but ARMs are typically more popular with those who plan to refinance.
  • FHA: If you are struggling to come up with a down payment, you may have options with an FHA mortgage. Provided by the Federal Housing Administration, these loans come with a low down payment requirement and built-in mortgage insurance.
  • USDA: Live in a rural area? Then check out your USDA eligibility! A surprising amount of areas qualify for USDA loans, even if you aren’t living in the countryside. Plus, USDA loans don’t require a down payment and offer lower insurance premiums.

These aren’t the only options you’ll have, just the most common. If none of these sound right or you aren’t sure which to choose, just ask your lender!

Choose the Right Lender

When it comes time to decide who to work with, you’ll have to do your research. Each lender is different, meaning they’ll likely offer you different rates, charges, and loan options. 

Luckily, we’ve been working in real estate around the area for years, so we know exactly which lenders are right for which buyers. If you need a few suggestions before you kick off your search, just let us know! 

Still Have Questions?

That’s okay—we get it. Applying for mortgage is confusing and challenging, especially if it’s your first time. If you have any questions about the process, we’re here to help. 

Ready to start looking at a few homes in your price range? We can help with that, too! Check out our specialized search tool to narrow down your options, and give us a call to start seeing a few in person!

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.