Location is probably the most important feature to consider. And yet, location is just one of many very important factors. What is the condition of the home? Carrying costs, known as maintenance and utilities, can cause undue financial hardship. Have you ever heard of a money pit? Newly renovated homes cost less. Learn about the acronym ‘OPM.’ Other People’s Money. If location is rule number one in real estate, rule number two is OPM. Borrow responsibly and avoid the burden of being nickel and dimed to death due to maintenance. You should also consider the outlook of the area. Are there new business developments? Or schools? Or revitalization of neighborhoods nearby that will increase value and your home’s appeal. Is it the right house for your lifestyle? Or your future lifestyle? Your family’s needs, a little foresight is necessary. Have a goal to buy a home? Let us help you plan, then execute the strategy – in the right location of course. Ask us how.

For most folks, renting is likely a short-term situation. In the long run, you can recoup money and build equity by owning a home. Houses typically appreciate in value as well. Neither scenario takes place while renting however. In some cases and in certain areas of our country, your mortgage payment may be cheaper than rent, like right here in Northeast Ohio. When you own a home, you do not have to worry about the landlord increasing rent costs unexpectedly. Mortgage payments and terms are fixed most of the time, changing very little at all. And with loan programs like FHA, less money is required up front at closing. You can even renovate a home and cut down on maintenance costs with an FHA loan. Want to buy a house and enjoy some easy, cheap living? Getting educated on the loan process allows you to make smarter financial decisions. Ask us how.

It is true: your debt-to-income ratio is considered when determining specific loan qualifications. However, debt by itself does not disqualify you. In fact, having a goal of being debt free will likely stifle your ability to buy sooner rather than later. And so other factors are considered to qualify: your income, your time on the job and your financial reserves all matter. The question you need to consider is: “Can you pay your existing debts and other reoccurring living expenses and a mortgage payment monthly?” We will help you prepare, and pre-approval strategy meetings will help you get comfortable. So get comfortable with debt and learn how to buy a home the right way. Ask us how.


*Not intended as legal, accounting or investment advice. Contact your financial representative for more information.

While the inspection findings can be used to request repairs or credits, and potentially even a price reduction on the home, you should realize the seller has zero obligation to fix anything. The asking price of the home may already reflect the issues and the property’s condition. Your real estate agent will help you as much as possible in negotiating repairs or credits. And we can refer good realtors; we often do. Sometimes in these situations, the seller is in no hurry to close or move. Maybe they’ve already had multiple offers on the table. Most of the time, the purchase contract will allow you to opt out of your offer if negotiations for repairs or credits do not yield the desired result. Understand and know your purchase contract fully, especially as it relates to property condition. Lean on your experienced real estate agent and your lender for quality feedback during your negotiations. Ask us how.

Property value and real estate taxes usually are directly tied to the quality of schools in the area. And even if having a family isn’t in your immediate future, schools are usually the first indicator of economic health in the community. So as the saying goes, in real estate anyways, location matters, so the quality of the schools matters as well. And it might seem odd to consider the selling situation before you even own the home, but an exit strategy, also known as a selling strategy, is somewhat important while buying. The quality of the school system will be a factor other buyers consider when you choose to sell your home. Your real estate agent will likely sing the same tune. Be smart, get educated, schools matter.

Closing timelines are not only related to the type of loan, but also the buyer’s preparedness. A smart first step is a pre-approval strategy meeting, ensuring you will become educated about the home buying process. Being mentally and financially prepared can simplify the process, and will assuredly instill some confidence. Mortgage loan milestones differ depending on the type of loan. And while it’s not extremely common, closing loans in two weeks can happen. Recognizing our Boardman team’s efficiency, folks recently made loan application on March 2, and closed March 15. That’s 13 days – that’s fast! And that’s an understatement. Typically speaking, 30-60 days is an appropriate timeline. Organization of credit, financial documents, and simply being mentally prepared promotes efficiency. Want to close fast? Get educated. Ask us how.

Well I suppose you can compare mortgage rates, however, comparing loan programs and/or mortgage companies based on an advertised rate is quite near-sighted. One mortgage ad might say “4.5%” and another “4.25%.” But the 4.25% option is not always the better option. One might ask, “are there other fees involved?” “Is this the right mortgage person, or company, for me?” “How reliable is this lender?” Dependability of the loan program and its purpose is also important to consider. Another factor could be the condition of the home. Carrying costs, known as maintenance and utilities, account for the second largest expense in home ownership. A minor difference in rate between loan programs may afford you the ability to involve improvements or repairs within the loan. Doing so limits exposure to long-term consumer costs. And while interest rate is important, it is more important to fully research options versus going off of a single ad. Learn about mortgage money, ask us how.

When buying a home, the buyer always has closing costs to consider, if using a loan to purchase the property. And negotiating with the seller to cover a specific amount of closing costs does not mean all the additional costs can be paid by the seller. Certain lending guidelines must be followed to ensure the proper amount of money is accounted for in the offer. When a seller pays closing costs, the money to pay those costs comes from the sale of the home – also known as the seller’s proceeds. So a seller is quite likely only interested in the bottom line. However, let’s also remember that a seller may decide against including credits to cover a buyer’s closing costs and prepaid expenses. Having sufficient cash reserves can ensure a successful and smooth closing process. Learn how to buy, and then execute your strategy. Be smart. Ask us how – we can help!

Mortgage interest can only be deducted if you itemize on your tax returns. Another factor is that nearly 70% of tax filers take the standard deduction, thereby disqualifying the mortgage interest deduction. If you’re married filing separately, it’s important to note that both parties must choose the same deduction. And the standard deduction was $12,700 in 2017, meaning if you itemize your deductions, it must be more than that. Overall, I suggest some tax planning advice. Would you like a CPA or a tax planner? We can refer one. Simply ask us how.

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.