Carol George's Blog
You've attended an open house – now what? Ultimately, there are many questions for homebuyers to consider after they attend an open house, and these include:
1. Did the home match or exceed my expectations?
It is important to understand whether a home is one that you could enjoy both now and in the future. And if you found that you liked a home after an open house, you may want to proceed with an offer on this residence.
Usually, it is a good idea to carry a checklist of your homebuying wants and needs that you can use throughout an open house. With this list in hand, a homebuyer can identify a house's strengths and weaknesses.
If you ever have concerns or questions during an open house, don't hesitate to find the listing real estate agent for assistance too. By doing so, you can gain the insights you need to determine whether a particular house is a viable long-term investment.
2. What would life be like if I purchased the home?
An open house can bring out a broad range of emotions in homebuyers, particularly if these individuals see things that they like in a residence.
For example, a homebuyer who sees a large outdoor deck may envision summer barbecues with family members and friends. Or, a homebuyer who views a spacious kitchen might picture dinner parties that he or she could host in the future.
If a home brings out positive feelings, it may be a keeper. As such, a homebuyer who feels good about a home after an open house may want to move forward with an offer.
3. Am I ready to submit an offer on the home?
Submitting an offer on a house can be tricky. On the one hand, you don't want to overspend to acquire a residence. Conversely, you want to submit a competitive offer that matches the home seller's expectations.
After an open house, it never hurts to meet with a real estate agent. Then, you can outline your homebuying goals and determine whether now is a good time to submit an offer on a residence.
If you decide to proceed with an offer, ensure that the proposal is fair and is submitted in a timely fashion. In all likelihood, the home seller will have 24 to 48 hours to accept, decline or counter your proposal. Once you receive a home seller's decision on your offer, you can determine the next step on your homebuying journey.
Lastly, if a home seller rejects your offer, there is no need to worry. With an expert real estate agent at your side, you can check out other open house events in your area. And as a result, you should have no trouble accelerating the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.
Alleviate stress as you decide how to proceed after you attend an open house – consider the aforementioned factors, and you can determine whether a particular residence is right for you.
The number of architectural styles in any given neighborhood can be overwhelming to home buyers, especially if they don't feel immediately called to one type. To help narrow it down, the property you choose should reflect everything from your budget to your lifestyle. The more you account for how you interact with the home, the happier you and your family will be. We'll look at the key questions that can help you decide.
How Will the Future Look?
This question has everything to do with the details of your future goals. Maybe you already know you'll need enough space in the home for a new baby, but have you considered how the property will affect an infant or toddler?
Parents may want to opt for a home without stairs to limit the number of accidents. The same advice goes for those who may find themselves hosting elderly relatives on a regular basis. If you're planning to be an empty nester soon, it may be time to downsize to a cottage so there's less to clean and maintain.
How Practical Is It?
There's no understanding a property until you've really lived in it, but there are ways to forecast the obstacles that can pop up along the way. A modern home may be beautiful in its own way, but the stark angles may feel cold to someone who would prefer a more welcoming traditional home.
If curb appeal is high on your list of priorities, then you may want to opt for a craftsman home. These homes come in all shapes and sizes, so it may be easier to find something in your budget than you think.
If you're planning on hosting parties or events, you need to define how much patio and yard space you'll need for everyone. While any property may feature outdoor amenities, you'll likely have the most luck with a traditional or a ranch.
Selecting a property type is more than just considering how many bathrooms you need and whether you want a formal dining room. You have to consider how the infrastructure and design will either help or hurt your daily routine. A cottage with a cozy breakfast nook will be useless to someone who would prefer to eat in the living room. The more you picture yourself in each of the rooms, the easier it should be to decide on a type.
Attending open houses is common for property buyers in cities and towns nationwide. However, there is no set number of open houses that a homebuyer will need to attend to discover his or her dream residence. In some instances, a buyer may find the ideal home after attending his or her first open house. Or, a buyer may attend dozens of open houses and fail to find a residence that matches his or her expectations.
As a homebuyer, it is important to do everything possible to make the most of an open house. Lucky for you, we're here to help you get ready for an open house and ensure that you can maximize the value of this event.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get ready for an open house.
1. Create a List of Home Questions
You may have learned about a home from a listing. Yet a listing only offers a limited amount of information about a residence. And if you have additional questions about a residence, an open house provides you with a great opportunity to receive responses to your queries.
Craft a list of questions before you attend an open house – you'll be glad you did. With this list in hand, you can ask questions about a home and gain the insights you need to help you decide whether a residence is right for you.
2. Perform Research
Try to collect as much information as you can about a home prior to an open house. That way, you can have a good idea about what to expect when you attend this event.
Also, you may want to put together a game plan before an open house. This plan allows you to prioritize different areas of a residence that you want to check out. Plus, it may help you conduct an in-depth review of a residence.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is happy to help you plan ahead for any open house. If you employ a real estate agent today, you can receive comprehensive assistance as you conduct your house search.
Typically, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about open house events in your preferred cities and towns. This housing market professional can attend an open house with you and offer immediate feedback as well. In addition, if you want to submit an offer to purchase a residence after an open house, a real estate agent can help you do just that.
Let's not forget about the expert housing market insights that a real estate agent can provide, either. A real estate agent can offer insights into housing market patterns and trends. By doing so, a real estate agent can help you narrow your home search and ensure that you can find a great house at a budget-friendly price.
Ready to attend an open house? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can attend an open house and learn about all aspects of a residence.
If you’re hoping to buy a house in the near future, you’ll want to focus on saving for a down payment.
Down payments are a way to let a lender know that you are a low-risk investment, and a way to save money on interest over the term of your loan.
If you have your other finances in order--a good credit score and stable income--there’s a good chance that making a 20% or more down payment will land you a low interest rate that can save you thousands while you pay off your loan.
How large should my down payment be?
The larger the down payment you can afford, the more money you’ll likely save in the long run. While there are ways to get a loan with no or very small down payments, these aren’t always ideal.
First, if you put less than 20% down on your home loan, you’ll be required to pay private mortgage insurance, or PMI. These are monthly payments that you make in addition to the interest that is accrued on your loan.
So, if you don’t put any money down on your home, you’ll accrue more interest over your term length and you’ll pay PMI on top of that.
What affects your minimum down payment amount?
Lenders take a number of factors into consideration when determining your risk. If you’re eligible for a first-time home owners loan, a veteran’s loan, or a USDA loan, your loan can be guaranteed by the government. This means you can likely pay a lower down payment while still receiving a reasonable interest rate.
When applying for a mortgage, be sure to reach out to multiple lenders and shop around for the rates that work for you. Many lenders use slightly different criteria to determine your eligibility to pay a lower down payment.
Other things that affect your minimum down payment include:
Location of the home you want to buy
Value of the mortgage
Saving for a down payment
You’ll get the most value out of your mortgage if you put more money down. However, if you’re currently living in a high-rent area, it could mean that it’s in your best interest to get out of your apartment and start building equity in the form of homeownership.
If you want to buy a home within the next year or two, there are a few ways you can help increase your savings.
First, determine how much you need to save. Depending on your housing needs and the current market, everyone will have different requirements. Do some home shopping in your area online and look for homes that are within your spending limits. Remember that you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your monthly income on housing (mortgage, property taxes, etc.)
Next, find out what a 20% down payment on that home would be, adjusting for inflation.
Once you have the amount you need to save, remember to leave yourself enough of an emergency fund in your savings account to last you a month or two.
As you start your journey to home ownership, one of the terms you may hear from your mortgage lender is debt to income ratio. Many people have never heard this term before, but it is an important aspect of obtaining a mortgage. Your mortgage lender wants to make sure you are not going to default on your mortgage payments. While your current credit history plays a role in this determination, your debt to income ratio also is considered.
Your debt to income ratio is the percentage of your gross income against the amount you are obligated to pay monthly. This means your credit card bills, car loans, life, health, and other insurance premiums may be considered, along with your anticipated mortgage payment and taxes. Generally, a lender will want your debt to income ratio to be at or lower than 43 percent of your income.
Calculate Your Ratio Early in the Process
Potential homebuyers can easily determine what their debt to income ratio is based on current mortgage interest rates and the amount they are seeking to borrow to purchase a home. To calculate the ratio, you will need the following information:
- Total annual salary — since a lender will review your taxes for the past three years, the best method is to use your most recent tax return and get your gross annual income before taxes. Once you have this number, divide it by 12 for calculating your gross monthly income.
- Monthly debt ratio — you will want to determine what debts you are obligated to pay monthly. This should include student loans, car payments, and any other debt which you expect to pay for at least five years including personal loans. Using a mortgage calculator, determine what you anticipate your mortgage payment will be including property taxes and insurance. Make sure you include all costs associated with your mortgage when using a mortgage calculator. The totals you get here will generate the total amount of your monthly debts.
- Final calculation — the final calculation will be determining your debt to income ratio. This is your total monthly debt divided by your gross monthly income is equal to your debt to income ratio.
High debt to income ratios can impact your ability to secure a mortgage. However, an important thing to remember is that some lenders do have some flexibility when using debt to income ratios. There are lenders who are exempt from the “ability to repay” rules for qualified mortgages. Talk to your mortgage lender about your debt to income ratio if the numbers are problematic. They can provide you with the available mortgage options based on your ratio.