If the home was priced fairly, lowballing the initial offer can offend the seller. They may choose not to work with you, even if you then increase your offer. Emotions can run high during a real estate transaction, so proceed with caution. On the flip side, sometimes a house is way overpriced and a lower offer is warranted. It’s important to have reasons supporting your stance. Real estate agents will help with this. A good realtor seasoned in the market where you are buying a home will ensure better negotiations. Following the advice of a true professional can be tough though, especially when the relationship is new and not built on years of interaction. So, referrals oftentimes help bridge the gap when considering how to structure your offer. We refer good realtors quite often. Ask us for one. Learn how to buy a home the right way.

When buying a home, down payment in combination with other costs are associated with loan closing figures. Proper terminology is, cash to close, which consists of a down payment, closing costs and prepaids. But, let’s also remember the cost of inspections and sometimes immediate repairs or improvements that need done if the seller doesn’t fix them prior to closing. Earnest money is also necessary most times when your offer is accepted. Also, there are other costs to consider for when you move in; furniture, deposits to open utilities, like electricity or gas or water. It’s important to look at the big picture and not just the immediate cost to purchase a home. Mortgage money and all the factors involved with buying a home are important. Learn your options. Get educated. Ask us how.

Media reports will vary throughout time. Interest rates will change up and down. An increase in rates may mistakenly convince you that refinancing is not worth looking into. The reality is that rates are still favorable and low. Mortgage loans, generally speaking, are the cheapest and safest type of money to borrow. Consumer debt on the other hand is quite expensive. Debt consolidation, home improvements, removing PMI, and other financial needs should be evaluated to determine the net tangible benefit of refinancing. And while it may sound a little whacky, there may be benefits to refinancing coupled with an increase in your mortgage loan interest rate. Sounds nutty, maybe not. Ask us how.

Most times, there are too many variables to consider having a hard and fast rule about debt to income ratio. Your lifestyle needs to play a factor when making a decision. Your total household income impacts various loan programs. And while it’s important to evaluate current monthly expenses, true income, versus qualifying income, along with your financial reserves should be considered. Overall, while debt to income ratios are a critical component when qualifying for a mortgage loan, isolating this variable and capping the ratio at 30 percent is many times not the correct approach. Learn about mortgage money. Ask us how.

If that were the case, lenders would only offer 30-year loans. It is true that 30-year mortgages guarantee the lowest monthly payments. However, 30-year mortgages do not offer the best lending terms. You will spend more money over time because it equates to a greater amount of interest and a shorter amount of principal paid at each payment. Shorter term loans, at 15 years for example, have higher payments, forcing more money to principal sooner. Considering your lending options and getting educated will help you make smarter lending decisions. Ask us how.

Mortgages are likely the largest debt a person will ever have. And with mortgage money typically being the cheapest type of debt, paying more money to the largest debt and the cheapest debt, is not the most economical approach for money management. It’s much smarter to pay off consumer debt carrying higher payments and higher interest costs than it is to spend more money on your mortgage loan. Also, when you pay off your home, you will lose your mortgage tax deduction that most folks get, and you will also still have monthly obligations consisting of property taxes and homeowners insurance. So paying less on your mortgage allows folks to save additional money for essentially rainy day funds, emergency reserves and avoid more expensive debt like consumer debt. Get educated about mortgage money management. Ask us how.

Local weather forecasts keep teasing us with milder days, which can only mean one thing — spring isn’t too far away!

But before you celebrate by packing away the sweaters and dusting off the lawn furniture, remember…we live in northeast Ohio. Besides, we still have February to get through. So, climb out of that saddle, cowboy. It ain’t over yet.

Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to keep busy during the last month or so of winter that will give you a leg up on your spring cleaning. Here’s a checklist of things to do that don’t require going outside in the cold. Continue reading

In real estate, cash, believe it or not, is not always king. Informed sellers are interested in the bottom line; more money talks. So getting pre-approved shows the seller that you are ready to present an approved offer and a buyer simply needs an address to associate with that pre-approved loan. Be strategic and execute your strategy by developing a game plan for making offers. Working with your realtor allows you to shorten the loan process when your offer is accepted. Confidence in your strategy promotes fewer, if any buyer contingencies when presenting your offer. Also, sometimes a letter to the seller appeals to their personal side. Be confident and learn how your loans help. Ask us help.

While we appreciate one’s DIY initiative, finding a real estate agent is many times the first step in the home-buying process. And we’re not just saying that because we work with agents daily.

Any buyer who even contemplates going it alone does not fully appreciate the sheer amount of work that entails. Whether it’s lining up inspections, determining fair market value, negotiating with the other agent, or just navigating the mountains of paperwork, agents handle a great deal. And they do it every day.

Continue reading