A simplified guide for buyers of South Central Vermont home.
To a South Central Vermont home loan shopper, there may seem to be an endless–and confusing–array of mortgage types. Of course you want to choose the option that is best suited to your current and future financial situation, but understanding the terminology, types, and monetary ramifications is not always easy. Mortgages generally fall into four categories (fixed rate, adjustable rate, step, and balloon) according to the interest rate and duration of the loan.
Adjustable rate (ARM)–the interest rate is tied to certain indexes plus a margin and can fluctuate up or down, thus affecting each payment,
Step–the interest rate and monthly payment remain the same for a specified period of time. After that the interest will change to the prevailing rate and will remain there for the duration of the loan.
Balloon–a loan payment that expands after a certain amount of time. Basically it functions similarly to a fixed rate mortgage in the earlier months/years with a delayed steep increase at the end,
The following information, courtesy of Mortgages.Interest.com, outlines the type of mortgage, the loan characteristics, and the situations most appropriate for each one. If, for instance, you plan to live in your South Central Vermont home more than 10 years and desire stability in payment amounts, then a fixed rate mortgage is for you. If, however, your finances are currently strained, but you know that in 5 to 10 years your monetary situation will improve or that you will most likely move within 10 years, then an ARM or balloon mortgage may be better for you. Being familiar with these options allows you to discuss them intelligently with your real estate agent and/or lender and then select the type which best fits your circumstances.
Part 2 of this four-part series dealt with analyzing your financial situation, getting prior loan approval, and determining your real needs/desires in a first home. All that having been accomplished, you will now want to look for a mortgage and decide which is the most advantageous for you.
As with any major purchase, you will want to shop around for the best deal. Contact several lenders (bank, savings and loan, credit union, private mortgage company, or a state or federal government lender.) Before doing that, however, you need to familiarize yourself mortgage types, terminology, and options. Your real estate agent will be helpful in this mission, as will the internet. Keying in First-time house buyers, mortgage assistance, HUD, or Community Housing Partners, will result in innumerable informative sites, a wealth of information for you to consider, and, most likely, a list of questions for you to ask your realtor and/or potential lender.
A simplified guide for painless purchasing of your South Central Vermont home
Congratulations! So you’ve made the decision to stop renting and purchase a place of your own. The home buying process may initially appear complicated and a bit daunting, but by using the skills of a buyer’s real estate agent, searching the internet, and familiarizing yourself with each of the steps involved, your experience can be a smooth and rewarding one.
1. Analyzing your financial situation.
The first thing to do is to learn how much you can afford to pay for your South Central Vermont home. Generally speaking, mortgage costs, or PITI (principal, interest, taxes, and insurance), should not exceed 26-28% of your gross monthly income. Many internet web sites furnish free tools for calculating these expenses for you. You can search under “calculating mortgage costs” or visit www.mortgagefit.com, www.bankrate.com, or www.bcsalliance.com, to name just a few. Remember that in addition to income, your credit rating, on-going monthly expenses, amount of the down payment, and the current interest rate must be factored into your financial analysis. Also take into consideration any HOA’s (homeowners’ association) dues, maintenance costs, and utilities you’ll have to pay on a monthly basis. You would be wise to investigate state and federal government programs which help qualifying first-time buyers with down payments and closing costs. Visit U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website for specific information which could be quite beneficial to you.
2. Getting prior loan approval.
The next step, before you ever begin actually looking a home, is to secure pre-approval for a loan. In order to do this, you will need to provide a potential lender with all necessary information about your finances. Your realtor will help you do this.
After performing a thorough and positive analysis of your financial situation, the lender will issue you a letter of approval which states the amount for which you qualify. This letter assures buyers that you are guaranteed a sufficient loan and that they are guaranteed a sale with no unpleasant surprises.
3. Determining your needs and desires.
If you are relocating to South Central Vermont, you will certainly want to familiarize yourself with the area–in person or via the net. Think about the type of community you’d feel most comfortable in. Older and established? Brand new and shiny? Consider age, style, and size you’d prefer. Would a fixer-upper be a good match for you? Is proximity to good schools important? What about the distance to and from your workplace? Traffic patterns and noise? Ample (and reserved?) parking? Do the community amenities suit your lifestyle? Do you want neighbors nearby?
Make lists for yourself. What are your “must haves”? Where do you want laundry facilities? Is an updated kitchen essential? Do you prefer an open floor plan? Who will maintain a large yard? Prioritize your wants and needs and revise the list when necessary.
As a first-time South Central Vermont home buyer, you’ll learn that you’ll have to make some compromises and that the whole process can be time-consuming–but oh, so exciting! Rely on your real estate agent to advise you about the advantages/disadvantages of specific locations and house styles and help you through the loan approval step. Because of his/her access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), he or she can search, with your wish list in hand, through thousands of listings to find the “ideal” South Central Vermont home for you.
Are you tired of the same old promises you make to yourself every January 1st but forget by February? Not this year! Here’s a 2010 resolution that’s so beneficial you simply must keep it: buy South Central Vermont real estate! Now that the Home Buyer Credit Act has been extended and qualifying income levels have been raised, this is an ideal time to purchase a house. Generally advertised as a tax credit for first-time buyers, the new legislation actually benefits many current homeowners, also.
Changes: Originally slated to end in November 2009, the credit deadline has been extended to April 30, 2010. If you have a binding, signed contract and settle on a South Central Vermont home before July 30, 2010, you are also eligible.
First-time buyers are those who have not owned a home in the last three years. They are eligible for a credit of 10% of the purchase price (not to exceed $800,000), up to $8000. Ownership of a vacation home or rental property not used as a prime residence does not disqualify a buyer as a first-timer.
Repeat buyers, or those who have owned and lived in a principal residence for at least 5 consecutive years of the last 8, may qualify for a credit of up to $6500.
Income levels have been increased to $125,000 for individuals and $225,000 for couples.
Low listing prices, reasonable interest rates, and an abundant variety of homes to choose from are among a few of the reasons now is the perfect time for buyers to make a move in today’s real estate market. Current market trends and other factors have made conditions even more favorable for first-time homebuyers. Though becoming a homeowner comes with huge responsibilities and financial commitments, first-time home buyers should take advantage of the market over flowing with opportunities. The following tips will help ease the mind when considering the smart purchase of your first South Central Vermont home.
1. Become familiar with the new first-time homebuyer federal tax credit.
People who are considering the purchase of their first home, or have not been home owners for at least the past three years can gain great benefits from the first-time homebuyer tax credit. According to FederalHousingTaxCredit.com, qualified first-time home buyers purchasing a principal residence on or after January 1, 2009 and before May 1, 2010 will receive a tax credit of up to $8,000. Unlike past tax credits from 2008, the money received does not have to be repaid, unless the homebuyer sells the property with in three years.
2. Determine what is reasonably affordable.
The $8000 first-time home buyer tax credit was scheduled to expire in just a few short weeks…Nov 30, 2009. I say ‘was’, because the Senate voted unanimously to extend the credit on Monday and the House of Representatives approved the extension yesterday afternoon by a vote of 403-12. The extension includes an expanded tax credit to repeat home buyers. The bill now goes to the President for his signature which is expected to happen today.
Home Buyer Tax Credit Expansion and Extension
If you know anyone looking to buy their first South Central Vermont home at a time when prices and interest rates are still down, or if you are thinking of buying another home and getting the new $6,500 credit please contact me today.