Our Real Estate Blog
You can ask any homeowner-buying and owning a home is expensive. Mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities, and other bills quickly add up.
If you want to buy a home but don’t have a large down payment saved, odds are you’ve discovered something called private mortgage insurance (PMI).
PMI is an extra monthly payment that you make (on top of your mortgage payment) when you don’t have enough to make a large (20%) down payment on your home.
However, if you want to buy a home and don’t want to tack on an extra monthly payment for PMI, you have options. In today’s post, I’m going to talk about some ways to avoid paying PMI on your mortgage so you can save more money in the long run.
Before we talk about getting rid of PMI, let’s spend a minute on what to expect when you do have to pay it.
PMI typically costs 0.30% to %1.15% of your total loan balance annually. That means that your PMI payments will decrease a moderate amount as you pay off your loan.
Furthermore, once you have paid off 22% of your loan, your PMI will be cancelled and you’ll only be responsible for your regular monthly mortgage payments.
Getting PMI waived early
With conventional loans, you can request to have your PMI cancelled once you’ve paid off 20% of the mortgage. However, many buyers with PMI are using some form of first-time buyer loan, such as an FHA loan.
With an FHA loan, you’ll be stuck with PMI for the lifetime of the loan if you don’t make a down payment of 10% or more. That’s a lot of PMI payments, especially if you take out a 30 year loan, and it can quickly add up.
If you have an FHA loan with FHA insurance, the only way to cancel the insurance is to refinance into a non-FHA insured loan. And remember--refinancing has its own costs and complications.
Making it to the 20% repayment mark
On conventional loans, the best way to get rid of PMI is to reach your 20% repayment mark as soon as possible. That could mean aggressively paying off your mortgage until you reach that point.
This can be achieved by making extra payments, or just paying more each month. However, you don’t want to neglect other debt that could be accruing costly interest in favor of paying off your loans. Make sure you do the math and find out which debt will be more expensive before neglecting other debt.
Once you do reach the 20% repayment mark, you’ll have to remember to apply to have your PMI canceled with your lender. Otherwise, it will be canceled automatically at 22%.
If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you might be wondering what all of the expenses you can expect to have when it comes time to close on your home.
Ideally, you’ll want to understand all of the closing costs months in advance so that you can plan accordingly. However, even if you’re close to purchasing your first home, it’s still useful to get to know closing costs better.
In today’s post, I’m going to cover the closing costs that are typically the buyer’s responsibility.
Buyer’s closing costs
There’s good news and bad news when it comes to closing costs for buyers. The bad news is that buyers are typically on the hook for the majority of the closing costs associated with a real estate transaction. The good news, however, is that many of these fees will be grouped together as part of your mortgage, meaning you won’t have to devote much time or thought to them individually.
That being said, to ensure that you know where your money is going, here’s a breakdown of the main closing costs that you’ll likely be responsible for as a buyer:
1. Attorney fees
Real estate attorneys research the ownership of the home, ensuring that the seller actually has the right to sell you the property. Though this is usually a formality, it is an important one.
Attorneys can either charge a flat fee or hourly rate.
2. Origination fees
The origination fee is paid upfront to the lender. It’s the fee that they charge for processing your mortgage application and getting you approved as a borrower.
3. Prepaid interest
Many buyers pay their first month’s interest in advance. This is the amount of interest that will accrue from the time you purchase the home until your first mortgage payment is due (a month later).
4. Home inspection
Inspections are one of the closing costs that can save you a ton of money in the long run if they find anything during their visit to the home. Inspectors should be licensed in your state, and you should choose your own inspector based on ratings and reviews (not at the recommendation of someone who is incentivized to sell you the home such).
5. Escrow deposits
Escrow deposits are typically shared between the buyer and seller and it is the fee that escrow agents charge for their services. You can think of an escrow as a neutral third party that keeps your money safe while purchasing a home.
6. Recording fees
All real estate purchases have to be recorded by the local government. Typically, this is performed by the county or town hall. Recording fees are charged whenever a real estate transaction occurs.
7. Underwriting fees
Mortgages are all about determining risk. A lender wants to know whether they will see a return on their investment by lending to you. To do so, they research your credit and income history. The fee the charge for this work is called the underwriting fee.
A home showing is a valuable opportunity for a property buyer. In certain instances, buyers will set up dozens of showings to review a wide range of residences. Meanwhile, a buyer sometimes finds the perfect residence during his or her first home showing.
Ultimately, there is no set number of showings that you will need to attend before you find your ideal house. It also is important to note that there is no time limit on a showing, and some showings may be shorter or longer than others.
Regardless of how many house showings you schedule, it is paramount to do everything possible to get the most out of a showing. Lucky for you, we are here to teach you about property showings and ensure you can optimize their value.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prepare for a house showing.
1. Review a Home Listing
A home listing may include various information about a house's age and condition, but you likely will require additional details about a residence before you decide whether to submit an offer to purchase. Fortunately, a home showing enables you to gain additional insights that may be unavailable in a listing.
Take a look at a home listing and put together a list of questions about a home. Then, when you attend a showing, you can receive instant responses to your queries.
2. Give Yourself Plenty of Time
There is no need to rush through a home showing. As such, you should give yourself plenty of time to check out a house and walk through it during a showing.
Oftentimes, it is beneficial to bring a pen and paper so you can jot down notes during a showing too. You also may want to take a camera with you. This will allow you to capture photographs of different areas of a home so you can review them after a showing and decide whether a house is right for you.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is happy to help you prepare for a house showing. He or she will learn about a home prior to a showing and may be able to provide you with insights that you won't receive elsewhere. Plus, a real estate agent will offer honest, unbiased feedback about a residence and ensure you can make an informed decision about a house.
In addition, if you find a home that suits you perfectly, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase. And if you ever have concerns or questions during the property buying journey, a real estate agent can provide in-depth responses.
For those who want to get the most out of a home showing, it generally is a good idea to plan ahead. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can prepare for a home showing and use this event to analyze all aspects of a residence.
A homebuying plan is a must-have, particularly for those who want to enjoy a successful property buying experience. Lucky for you, there are many things you can do to execute a homebuying plan to perfection.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you put your homebuying plan into action and achieve the best-possible results during the property buying journey.
1. Establish Realistic Homebuying Goals
As you craft your homebuying plan, it generally is a good idea to establish milestones. That way, you can take a step-by-step approach to go from homebuyer to homeowner.
Of course, it is paramount to set realistic homebuying goals. Think about why you are pursuing a home in the first place, and you can map out your homebuying plan accordingly.
It may be beneficial to hone your home search as well. If you narrow your house search to a select group of cities and towns, you may be better equipped than ever before to streamline the homebuying journey.
2. Maintain Flexibility
Although you may devote many hours to craft an effective homebuying strategy, it is important to remember that problems may arise as you search for your dream residence. Fortunately, if you maintain flexibility, you will be ready to adjust your homebuying plan as needed.
If you have to modify your homebuying strategy, there is no need to worry. Instead, adjust your plan and continue your pursuit of your ideal residence. Because if you are flexible as you search for your dream home, you can minimize stress and boost the likelihood of discovering a residence that may serve you well for an extended period of time.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to developing and executing a homebuying plan, you do not have to work alone. In fact, you can hire a real estate agent who is happy to help you find and purchase a terrific residence at an affordable price.
By consulting with a real estate agent, you can receive expert homebuying support. A real estate agent knows what it takes to acquire a first-rate home at a budget-friendly price, and as such, will work with you to ensure your homeownership dream can come true.
If you are unsure about where to search for homes, for example, a real estate agent can help you determine where to pursue residences. He or she also can help you get in touch with banks and credit unions so you can obtain home financing. Plus, a real estate agent is ready to help you submit an offer to purchase your dream residence. And if you have concerns or questions during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is prepared to respond to them too.
For those who want to seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey, you may want to craft a property buying plan. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can get the most out of a homebuying strategy and ensure you can quickly find your dream residence.
Let's face it – there are many risks that you may face during the homebuying journey. From submitting an offer on a house that ultimately proves to be a poor investment to failing to obtain a mortgage due to a bad credit score, there are various issues that may prevent you from achieving your desired results. Lucky for you, we're here to help you focus on the task at hand and eliminate potential risks as you search for your ideal residence.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you avoid risks throughout the homebuying journey.
1. Set Realistic Homebuying Expectations
How you search for a home may determine whether you are successful or unsuccessful. For example, if you evaluate houses that fall outside your price range, you may struggle to find a home that you can actually afford. On the other hand, if you establish realistic homebuying expectations from the get-go, you may be able to streamline your house search.
Think about where you want to live and how much you can afford to pay for a home. Also, you should consider home must-haves and wants. With this information at your disposal, you can avoid the risk of missing out on an opportunity to acquire a residence that matches your expectations.
2. Get a Mortgage
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is pivotal. Because if you obtain a mortgage today, you can enter the housing market with a budget and narrow your house search accordingly. Perhaps most important, a mortgage enables you to avoid the temptation to pursue homes that be priced beyond your budget.
Consult with banks and credit unions, and you can learn about a broad array of mortgage options. Then, you can select a mortgage and kick off your search for your dream residence.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
Problems may arise at any point during the homebuying journey. And if you're unsure about how to address these issues, it may be tough for you to acquire your ideal residence. Fortunately, if you hire a real estate agent, you may be able to identify and address homebuying problems before they escalate.
A real estate agent understands the housing market and is happy to share his or her expertise with you. This housing market professional can teach you about the differences between a buyer's and seller's market, help you prepare a homebuying strategy and much more.
Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent can provide as you get ready to submit an offer on your dream home, either. A real estate agent will help you craft a competitive homebuying proposal. Furthermore, he or she will negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf and do everything possible to ensure you can acquire your dream residence at a budget-friendly price.
Take control of the homebuying journey – use the aforementioned tips, and you can limit risk as you search for your ideal house.