Ann Marie Martin


Posted by Ann Marie Martin on 8/13/2018

If buying a home is something you’re considering, you might be curious about the different types of mortgages that are available to you. After all, the interest rate on your loan could have a huge impact on your finances over time, saving you thousands of dollars.

In today’s post, I’m going to demystify the home loan by explaining the most common types of mortgages. That way, you’ll be able to approach a lender with a bit of context and knowledge to help make the best mortgage decision for you and your family.

Fixed-rate mortgages

The most common types of home loans in the United States today are fixed-rate mortgages. A fixed-rate mortgage has the benefit of stability in terms of its interest rate--year after year, or the lifetime of your loan, you know exactly what percent of interest you’re going to pay.

Fixed-rate mortgages most frequently come with repayment terms of 15 or 30 years. However, some lenders offer different repayment periods.

As with any debt, paying off a mortgage in a shorter term typically amounts to paying less interest over the lifespan of the loan. For this reason, buyers who can afford higher monthly mortgage payments often opt for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage.

If you can’t afford higher monthly payments, a 30-year loan will typically have lower mortgage payments, but at the expense of paying more interest over the life of the loan.

The 30-year option is the most often in the United States, where first-time buyers typically have too many other monthly bills to afford a high mortgage payment.

Adjustable-rate mortgages

Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) were once an ideal option for first-time buyers who could purchase a home at a very low interest rate and then refinancing once that rate was set to rise. However, after the housing crisis of 2007, trust in the housing market drastically declined.

In recent years, ARMs have begun to make a comeback. However, they currently still only account for around 5% of home loans.

Adjustable-rate mortgages come with one important advantage and one huge disadvantage over fixed-rate mortgages. The upside is the ability to borrow money for a home at a lower interest rate than other mortgage types. The down side? Your interest rate isn’t locked in for the length of the loan, meaning your rate could, in theory, rise dramatically before you sell or pay off the home. This is exactly what happened to borrowers during the subprime mortgage crisis.

Guaranteed loans

There are a number of special loan programs that have been sponsored by the government over the years. Among them are USDA rural development loans, VA loans for veterans and their spouses, and FHA loans offered by the Federal Housing Authority.

All of these loans make it easier to buy a home with little or no down payment or a credit score that’s less than perfect. That makes these options great for first-time homeowners.




Tags: Mortgage   Buying a home  
Categories: Mortgage   Buying a Home  


Posted by Ann Marie Martin on 6/18/2018

Purchasing a residence may seem like a long, complicated journey. However, there are many ways to simplify the homebuying process, including: 1. Become an Educated Homebuyer. The real estate market constantly changes, and as such, you'll want to conduct plenty of research to ensure you fully understand this sector. Remember, an informed homebuyer is better equipped to make the best decisions. And if you study the real estate market closely, you may be able to identify trends that could help you find the right home at the right price. Homebuyers who can differentiate between a sellers' market and a buyers' market, for instance, could reap the benefits of a great deal on a residence. In fact, these homebuyers may be able to determine the ideal time to buy a home and discover the perfect house quickly. Furthermore, don't forget to consider how you'll pay for your home and dedicate the time and resources to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This will ensure you're able to budget appropriately, and eventually, can find an affordable, high-quality house. 2. Remain Flexible. The homebuying process rarely, if ever, is simple. As such, you need to understand that challenges will arise during the process and remain flexible to resolve such issues. In many cases, a flexible homebuyer is a happy homebuyer, i.e. one who remains calm, cool and collected under pressure. And if you strive to be flexible, you can negotiate properly and find the best deal on a home. It also is important to note that friends and family members can support you throughout the homebuying process. Plus, if any of your friends and family members have purchased a home recently, they may be able to provide assistance as you work toward buying a home. 3. Hire an Experienced Real Estate Agent. Have you found an experienced real estate agent to guide you along the homebuying process? If not, you might miss out on a golden opportunity to explore a vast array of top-notch residences in your area. A real estate agent is a must for those who want to streamline the homebuying process, and for good reason. This professional knows the ins and outs of the real estate sector and will be ready to respond to any of your concerns or queries. Furthermore, a real estate agent can help you handle negotiations with a home seller and ensure you're able to get the best price on a home at any time. Lastly, a real estate agent can serve as a trusted resource and will help you set realistic expectations for your next home. This professional will be happy to provide honest advice along the way too, ensuring you're able to find the right home for your needs and budget. The homebuying process represents an uphill climb for many homebuyers, and as a result, can be intimidating. But with the aforementioned tips at your disposal, you'll be better equipped to discover the idea home in a short period of time.





Posted by Ann Marie Martin on 5/14/2018

For a first-time homebuyer, it is important to realize that a home seller's acceptance of your initial offer provides no guarantees. In fact, a homebuyer will still need to complete a home inspection before a home sale is finalized.

A home inspection is a valuable opportunity to learn about any potential issues with a house. After the inspection is finished, a homebuyer has the opportunity to submit a counter-proposal, rescind a proposal or keep his or her current offer intact.

Ultimately, hiring the right home inspector can make a world of difference for a homebuyer. With an expert home inspector at your side, a homebuyer can gain insights into a house's pros and cons and determine whether a house is a viable long-term investment.

So what does it take to employ the right home inspector? Here are three tips to help a first-time homebuyer do just that.

1. Conduct an Extensive Search

Search far and wide for a home inspector – you'll be glad you did. If you allocate the necessary time and resources to locate a skilled home inspector in your area, you can boost your chances of identifying potential home problems before you complete a home purchase.

A first-time homebuyer can begin a search for an expert home inspector online. A simple web search is sure to provide plenty of results, and a homebuyer then can perform an in-depth review of local home inspectors' credentials.

Furthermore, don't hesitate to ask family members and friends for assistance. If a loved one recently sold a house and had a great experience with a home inspector, it may be worthwhile to hire this same professional to perform your home inspection.

2. Look at a Home Inspector's Background

How many years of industry experience does a home inspector have? What are past clients saying about a home inspector? And how does a home inspector approach each job? These are some of the questions that a first-time homebuyer should consider as he or she assesses a home inspector's background.

In addition, a homebuyer can always reach out to a home inspector directly to learn more about this professional's experience. A face-to-face or phone conversation with a home inspector may require only a few minutes to complete and can help a homebuyer make an informed decision.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent can help you discover your dream house as well as put you in touch with the top home inspectors in your area. As a result, this housing market professional will ensure you can purchase a first-rate house that matches or exceeds your expectations.

If you're uncertain about whether to hire a particular home inspector, it never hurts to consult with a real estate agent. By doing so, you can gain honest, unbiased tips to determine whether a home inspector is the right person to evaluate your residence.

Employ the best home inspector prior to completing your home purchase – use these tips, and a first-time homebuyer should have no trouble hiring a superior home inspector.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  


Posted by Ann Marie Martin on 4/23/2018

The homebuying process may prove to be challenging, particularly for individuals who fail to anticipate potential problems. Lucky for you, we're here to help you identify and address homebuying hurdles before they escalate.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to ensure you can seamlessly anticipate and overcome homebuying hurdles.

1. Learn About the Housing Market

The real estate market can be complex. Fortunately, an informed homebuyer should have no trouble resolving potential problems early in the property buying journey.

Examine a wide range of housing market data – you'll be glad you did. Look at the prices of recently sold houses – as well as the prices of available residences – in your preferred cities and towns. With this housing market information, you'll be better equipped than ever before to differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's one and plan your homebuying journey accordingly.

2. Get Home Financing

If you intend to pursue a house, you likely will need a mortgage. Thankfully, banks and credit unions are available to help you obtain a mortgage in no time at all.

Ultimately, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you enter the housing market with a mortgage in hand, you can narrow your house search to properties that fall within your price range. And as a result, you could speed up the process of finding and buying your dream house.

When you meet with lenders, don't hesitate to ask lots of questions, either. If you allocate time and resources to learn about all of your home financing options, you can determine exactly which option is right for you.

3. Employ a Real Estate Agent

There is no need to pursue a house on your own, regardless of whether you're an experienced or first-time property buyer. But if you employ a real estate agent, you can work with a homebuying expert who can help you make your homeownership dream come true.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to find a great house at an affordable price. He or she can teach you about the housing market and help you make informed decisions at each stage of the property buying journey. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent can prepare you for potential homebuying hurdles and ensure you can quickly address these issues.

Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent provides as the homebuying journey progresses as well. A real estate agent will set up home showings, help you weigh the pros and cons of different houses and ensure you can submit an offer to purchase your dream residence. And as you approach the date of your home closing, a real estate agent will offer tips and recommendations to ensure you can finalize your house purchase without delay.

Want to avoid homebuying hurdles? You're not alone. But with the aforementioned tips, you can identify and overcome various homebuying hurdles and effortlessly navigate the property buying journey.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  


Posted by Ann Marie Martin on 4/9/2018

Once you've made the transition from renter to homeowner, life is never the same again! While new responsibilities like home repairs and paying property taxes may sometimes feel like a burden, there are plenty of benefits that should outweigh the costs.

For example, home ownership usually brings with it tax advantages and investment features that can work in your favor. Getting guidance from a licensed tax advisor and financial consultant can help make sure you're getting the maximum return on your real estate investment.

Tips For House Hunters

If you're in the process of buying or looking for a new house, an experienced real estate agent (and home inspector) can be a valuable resource when evaluating the condition of a home, estimating the current market value of the property, and predicting the growth potential of the neighborhood. As you may already know, the location of a property is one of the most important aspects of its current and future value.

Seller disclosure laws, which vary from one state to the next, can offer buyers some measure of protection against costly problems, health or safety hazards, or quality of life issues down the road.

There are two reasons that seller disclosure requirements don't always protect home buyers from property flaws and repair problems: seller dishonesty or hidden conditions sellers aren't aware of. They can't reveal issues they don't know about, and in some cases problems are hidden behind walls, ceilings, and other places.

As mentioned, a potential obstacle to getting the full story about a home's history, flaws, and weaknesses is the seller's unwillingness to be completely honest. Even though they're opening themselves up to a potential lawsuit if they fail to reveal known problems with the property, they may risk it if they think full disclosure may derail their chances to sell the house or get top dollar for it.

From the buyer's standpoint, the best advice to keep in mind is caveat emptor: "Let the buyer beware." Your real estate agent can fill you in on the details of exactly what a seller needs to disclose, in terms of flaws, defects, hazards, damage, repairs, infestations, and even bizarre things like paranormal activity, suicides or crimes that occurred in the house. You'll also want to know things like whether the property is in a designated flood plain, whether there are any boundary line disputes, and if there are known toxic substances on the premises or underground.

While there are many variations in seller disclosure forms (depending on state laws and local conditions), there are also standard questions in most forms. As a side note, some localities may require disclosure about hazards such as earthquakes, fires, or other potential natural disasters.

You can get an overall idea of what's included by doing an online search for property disclosure forms. Generally speaking, the most reliable sources of information are your real estate agent, a real estate attorney, or your state's Department of State.