Maureen Harmonay - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage



Posted by Maureen Harmonay on 4/3/2018

As a first time home buyer, you may feel like a fish out of water when it comes to the process of getting a home. If you’re ready to buy your first home, there’s some key mistakes that you should avoid. 


You Think That You Don’t Need Help From A Professional


So many homebuyers think that they can save themselves a few dollars by avoiding working with a realtor. This is a big mistake. Realtors are a valuable resource for buyers and will help you throughout the process of purchasing a home. Realtors can help guide buyers step-by-step while providing assistance with things like negotiations and making sure all of the paperwork gets from point A to point B. You’ll also need other professionals involved in this process of home buying including lawyers and loan officers. Having these people on your team protects you and gives you a backing of knowledge that you wouldn’t otherwise have. 


Don’t Skip Pre-Approval


Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is key before you even start to search for a house. The pre-approval letter is a great resource in helping you land the home of your dreams. If you’re going up against other bids on a home, your bid will be seen as more serious if you have been pre-approved. Getting a pre-approval lets sellers know that you’re serious about the whole process of buying a home and are ready to make the financial commitment. 


Know The Costs Associated With Buying A Home


Just because you have the monthly income to pay a mortgage doesn't mean you’re financially ready to buy a home. There’s a few things that need to be in place before you can even commit to buying a home. First, you’ll need to make sure your credit score is up to par. Next, you’ll need to have enough saved up for a down payment. Without a down payment of at east 20% of the purchase price of a home, you’ll need to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). There’s plenty of other costs that you’ll need cash on hand for when it comes to buying a home. This includes home insurance, home inspections, closing costs, property taxes, HOA fees, and maintenance. In other words, there needs to be some wiggle room in your budget for all of the extra costs that go into closing on a home and maintaining a home. 



Don’t Completely Deplete Your Savings


Just because you have been saving up for years to buy a home, doesn’t mean you need to completely deplete your savings in one pass. If you lack an emergency fund, you’re not buying a home with a responsible financial cushion. While you’ll probably take out a good chunk of savings in order to purchase the home, you need a bit more. Experts say that you need about 3-6 months of expenses saved up in case of the event of illness, job loss, or other emergency. Hence the name “emergency fund.”





Posted by Maureen Harmonay on 12/26/2017

When you’re gearing up to make the largest purchase of your entire life, you have a lot to think about. There’s also a lot of emotion involved in the entire process. You don’t want those emotions to get in the way, causing you unnecessary regret in your purchase. A home is not like a sweater that you can head to the store and return. What do current homeowners wish that they did differently in their home purchase? Below, you’ll find some of the most common regrets of homeowners. If you know what to look out for, you can avoid the same kind of buyer’s remorse in your own home purchase. 



Not Doing Research First


In hot markets, it can be hard to find the time to do the research and secure the home you want. Before you even begin searching one thing you should have a handle on is location. You probably have a general idea of where you’d like to live. You can research these neighborhoods ahead of time in order to understand the makeup of the area. You should take a look at everything form schools to safety to the amenities close to the location of choice. Do this for a few different areas so that you’re completely prepared before you even head out on the house hunt. Even if you end up in an area you never pictured, if you have a general idea of the spots you’re looking at, it will be much easier to tell what a neighborhood will be like to live in ahead of time. The best advice is not to pin yourself down to searching in one area. 


Not Knowing Anything About The House


If you failed to pay attention during the home inspection, didn’t ask a lot of questions, or were just blind to some of the issues that were apparent in the home you bought, you could be in for quite a surprise. Understanding the problems a home has is one thing but knowing how much those repairs are going to cost is another. If you are trying to beat the competition by skipping the home inspection or waiving contingencies, you may end up being pretty unhappy in your new home with an empty wallet. Some repairs cost more than you know and it’s important to be aware of what needs to be done in the home before you sign on the dotted line.   


Missing Out On A Big Downpayment


Sometimes that little extra bit of savings can really help. Even though many first time homeowners are simply eager to get into a home, waiting a bit and saving more for a downpayment can significantly lower the longterm costs of homeownership. This includes things like fees, interest rates, and PMI (private mortgage insurance). Also, having a larger downpayment can help you to get a house that you really want when the market is highly competitive. You’ll appear more reliable to sellers. Remember that the higher your downpayment, the lower your monthly payment will be.     

  




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Maureen Harmonay on 5/27/2014

Being a first time home buyer has it's benefits when it comes to financing. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has loans tailored specifically to you! Lower down payments and lower closing costs help newbies make the jump into home ownership. With a FHA first time home buyer loan you can get interest rates as low as 3.5%, which can really save money on the life of your loan and keep your monthly payments lower. Your down payment is also lower than a traditional mortgage; instead of putting 20% down, you can put as low as 3.5% down if you qualify. While a lower down payment will increase your monthly payment (since you are taking a loan out for more money), it will help with the burden of needing a large amount of money up front. With FHA loans you can also include most of the closing costs and fees into the loan, again helping with the money needed at the time of purchase. You can even add in the costs for repairing a home that needs a good deal of fixing up. Regardless, you will need to have enough money for the down payment, some closing costs, and inspection. Since you would be putting less than 20% down, FHA loans require that you also have private mortgage insurance (PMI), which is a percentage of your loan. This will be added to your monthly mortgage payment, and the bank will pay it out of your monthly. Being a first time home buyer probably means you need some help on getting through the process. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has housing counseling agencies that can give you advice on buying a home, avoiding foreclosure, and fixing your credit. You can find your local agency at http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm. Lastly, you can also find local buying programs to help with buying a home, including helping with your down payment at http://www.hud.gov/buying/localbuying.cfm. If you never thought you would be able to afford a house, think again. With programs out there to help you buy your first home, you could be moving into a place before you know it!




Categories: Buying a Home