Susan Fung's Blog
Are you familiar with “green” home builders? They are contractors who construct homes from sustainable or renewable products. These green home builders use durable materials in building all kinds of homes ranging from individual bungalows to expansive, real estate developments. Just like traditional builders, they handle diverse types of construction but build in a way that minimizes waste.
Green homes have gained recent popularity due to their energy efficiency, water efficiency and minimal impact on the environment. Apart from their environmental impact, green homes are known to boost the quality of living for the occupants. Moreover, a green home can enhance their overall well-being.
While searching for a suitable, green home builder, you must examine aspects of their past work like their building strategies, experience, quality of work and expertise. A green home builder must be actively involved in all phases of your home construction; they should be a part of the process from the time of design inception to the completion of the home.
Here are things to consider before employing the services of a green home builder:
Just like other businesses, it is essential for real estate builders to have a license that permits them to construct green homes. These licenses are issued by the state, federally, or via local city council. It is proof that a particular contractor has a permit to build a sustainable house. Therefore, you must ensure that a green home builder has a license before employing his/her services.
Experience is a quality that a green home builder must have. In addition to a license, builders may seek the designation "Certified Green Professional" (CGP), which is an industry determination requiring them to pass specific coursework to obtain and maintain. In addition to certification, to choose a reliable and experienced green home builder, you should endeavor to ask your prospective green home builders to show some similar projects that they have done in the past.
Green builders who believe in the quality of their work may refer you to their past customers. When meeting these customers, ask questions that will give you an idea of the builder’s level of expertise, and how living in a green home enhances their lives.
Knowledge is power, so don't be afraid to ask the tough and necessary questions to ensure you're getting the most value and efficiency for your money. To find a green home in your area, seek the advice of your real estate professional today.
A jumbo mortgage refers to a high-priced loan, usually meant for a luxury property. And while this loan may have once been reserved for the millionaire investors of the world, it may not be as exclusive as you think. If you're interested in what it takes to apply, it helps to understand how they work and who the best candidates are.
A Moving Target
To be considered for a jumbo loan, it must be above a certain minimum. However, this amount will differ based on where you purchase your home. The minimum for a jumbo loan in Beverly Hills will be much higher than the minimum in Kansas City due to the discrepancies between median home prices. These values will rise and fall depending on the local economy and average property appraisals, so buyers will need to do a little research into their city's criteria.
Jumbo mortgages are available in a variety of options, similar to a conventional loan. Unsurprisingly, lenders tend to be a little pickier when it comes to who they approve and who they reject. A single application may go through several underwriters to arrive at the final answer. They're looking for exceptionally high credit scores and equally low debt-to-income ratios.
It's the lender who dictates the exact terms of the loan, though historically, jumbo loans have had higher interest rates. However, it should be noted that this is not a hard-and-fast rule. Interest rates have been known to come down based on the caliber of people who apply. The more qualified applicants, the less overall risk the lender assumes.
In addition, the jumbo mortgage minimum down payment has been relaxed to just 5% to allow a more level playing field (especially for people in high-priced markets). Despite this though, most lenders are still looking for at least 15% on a jumbo loan. Shopping around can make it easier to find a lender with reasonable terms for a jumbo loan.
Structuring the Loan
Adjustable-rate jumbo loans are available, but they are not the ideal choice for homeowners unless they know they'll be selling in the very near future. To avoid paying more interest than necessary, experts recommend a fixed-rate over 15 years.
There may be a lot of fine print to a jumbo loan, but lenders are largely ensuring that the homeowner has enough in stable assets (e.g., property, savings, etc.) to cover their mortgage even if they fall on hard times. Knowing the terms can make it easier to prepare, apply, and be approved for the home of your dreams.
Believe it or not, home sellers may encounter many expenses after they list their residences. These costs include:
1. Home Cleaning and Maintenance Costs
Before you start showing your residence to prospective buyers, it often is beneficial to clean your house. As such, you may need to purchase assorted cleaning supplies. Or, you can always hire a professional home cleaning company to help you enhance your house's overall appearance.
Don't forget about home maintenance expenses too. Remember, you'll want to do everything possible to improve your house's curb appeal to ensure your residence stands out to potential buyers. And if you budget for the costs associated with fixing damaged home siding or performing lawn care tasks, you may be better equipped than ever before to find cost-effective ways to bolster your home's curb appeal.
2. Home Repair Costs
After you accept a buyer's offer to purchase your home, the buyer likely will request a property inspection. And if an inspection reveals myriad home repairs are necessary, you may be required to spend money to complete these repairs. Otherwise, you could put your home sale in jeopardy.
Oftentimes, it is helpful to conduct a property inspection before you list your residence. This will enable you to assess your home with a professional inspector and identify any problems. Then, you can perform home repairs prior to listing your residence and reduce the risk of possible home selling delays down the line.
3. Moving Costs
Once you sell your home, you will need to relocate your belongings from your current address to a new location. Thus, you should consider the costs associated with moving boxes and packing supplies and budget accordingly.
Furthermore, you may want to hire a professional moving company to help you transport your belongings from Point A to Point B. If you review the prices of local moving companies, you can find an affordable option that matches your budget.
There are many costs that you may encounter as you proceed along the home selling journey. But if you work with a real estate agent, you can receive comprehensive property selling support. And as a result, you may be able to cut down on potential costs throughout the home selling cycle.
A real estate agent is committed to doing everything possible to help a seller achieve the best-possible results. Therefore, a real estate agent will learn about your home selling goals and create a personalized property selling strategy for you.
Plus, a real estate agent is happy to respond to any home selling concerns or questions. This housing market professional will go the extra mile to guarantee you can enjoy a seamless property selling experience. With assistance from a real estate agent, you can handle any potential problems that may arise during the house selling journey.
For home sellers, it usually is a good idea to budget for potential property selling expenses. If you put together a budget, you could boost the likelihood of enjoying a fast, profitable property selling experience.
If you are thinking of refinancing your mortgage, there are so many options available to you that address your needs. Whether you want to do some home improvement projects or provide a down payment for another property refinancing can be a good option for you. There are many different options when it comes to home loans and refinancing. Below, you’ll find some of the most popular choices and what they mean for your mortgage and your finances.
A standard refinances requires that you have a certain amount of equity in your home. If you want to avoid Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI on the refinance, you need 20% equity in the home. Different lenders have different requirements for the amount of equity that you need in order to do this primary refinancing of your home loan. Keep in mind that a good credit score is also a requirement to do this type of loan.
Refinancing With Cash Out
This option is great when you need to take some of the equity out of your home. This way, you can get some of the equity out of your home without selling the house. This way, you’re able to refinance the mortgage, get a good loan term that’s affordable, and borrow a part of the equity you have built up in your home.
You can use the cash that you take out for just about anything you need including college, home renovations, business start-up costs, or to consolidate other debt you have. The only drawback is that you’re not able to borrow 100% of your equity. Usually, the highest percentage you’re eligible to borrow is 80%. The amount is based on both the equity you have built up in your home along with your income. Also, keep in mind that after you take out one of these loans, the amount of equity you have in your home decreases.
Short refinances may not be offered by all lenders. If you don’t qualify for a HARP loan or standard, refinance this could be a good option for you. If you hope to avoid foreclosure and are struggling to pay your mortgage each month, your lender may agree to the terms of this type of loan. The loan is in effect is a combination of a short sale and a refinance. The lender agrees to pay the existing mortgage off. The loan s replaced with a new mortgage. Beware that if you choose this option, your credit score may go down significantly. If you’re able to keep up with the new mortgage payments, you’ll be able to repair your credit score over time.
A first-time homebuyer may believe that he or she can submit a "lowball" offer on a residence, even if a house has been available for many weeks or months. However, the risks associated with submitting a subpar proposal are significant, particularly for a homebuyer who wants to purchase a top-notch residence as soon as possible.
Ultimately, a lowball offer may result in an instant "No" from a home seller. Perhaps even worse, the proposal could sour potential negotiations between a homebuyer and home seller and cause a property buyer to miss out on an opportunity to acquire his or her dream residence.
When it comes to buying a house for the first time, there is no need to risk submitting a lowball offer.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help a first-time homebuyer avoid the temptation to make a lowball proposal.
1. Evaluate a Wide Range of Houses
An informed first-time homebuyer may be better equipped than others to provide a competitive offer to purchase his or her ideal residence.
For example, a homebuyer who assesses a broad range of houses in a particular area can determine a price range for similar residences. Then, if this homebuyer would like to submit an offer on a house, he or she can use housing market data to submit a fair proposal without delay.
With housing market data, a homebuyer can determine whether he or she is operating in a buyer's or seller's market too. That way, this homebuyer can leverage housing market insights to quickly and effortlessly put together a competitive offer on any residence, at any time.
2. Understand Your Finances
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage usually is a great idea for a first-time homebuyer. With a mortgage in hand, this homebuyer will be able map out a homebuying journey based on his or her finances.
To receive pre-approval for a mortgage, a homebuyer will should meet with several banks and credit unions. These lenders can offer details about a variety of mortgage options and help a homebuyer make an informed mortgage decision.
After a homebuyer is pre-approved for a mortgage, he or she can submit an offer on a house and understand exactly how much money is available for a home purchase. As a result, this homebuyer can put his or her best foot forward with an initial offer, thereby reducing the risk of submitting a lowball proposal.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
The homebuying journey can be long and complicated, especially for those who are pursuing a house for the first time. Fortunately, a first-time homebuyer can collaborate with a real estate agent to obtain deep housing market insights.
A real estate agent is happy to provide honest, unbiased home offer recommendations. By doing so, this housing market professional can help a first-time homebuyer submit the best offer on a residence – without exception.
Ready to purchase a home for the first time? Use the aforementioned tips, and a first-time homebuyer can avoid the danger of submitting a lowball offer on a residence.