Janet Cramb & Company/LAER Realty Partners



Posted by Janet Cramb on 1/13/2021

If buying a home is something youíre 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 todayís post, Iím going to demystify the home loan by explaining the most common types of mortgages. That way, youíll 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 youíre 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 canít 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 isnít 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 thatís less than perfect. That makes these options great for first-time homeowners.




Tags: Buying a home   mortgage  
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Posted by Janet Cramb on 1/6/2021

A home inspection is a vital part of every real estate transaction. Its importance is usually solidified in a purchase contract in the form of a contingency clause.

Whenever you buy or sell a home, the transaction is typically contingent upon a few things being fulfilled. Inspections help protect the buyer from purchasing a home that they believed didnít have any major issues.

For buyers, an inspection can save you thousands in the long run. For sellers, getting a preemptive inspection done (on your own dime) can be useful since it will help you avoid any surprises that could arise when a potential buyer has your home inspected.

Hiring a home inspector

Regardless of whether youíre the buyer or the seller in this instance, hiring a home inspector isnít something you should take lightly. Youíll want to confer with your agent before you pick an inspector.

Itís also a good idea to check out some online reviews and visit the inspectorís website for pricing. Typically, inspectors charge between $200 and $400 for an inspection, so feel free to shop around.

Inspectors are certified, so make sure whoever you choose has the proper licensure. You can search for inspectors in your area with this search function.

Ultimately, youíll want to choose an inspector that can give you the most unbiased assessment of the home, so that you can be assured that you know what youíre getting into when you buy or sell a home.

Preparing for an inspection

Many buyers arenít sure what to expect on inspection day. However, the process is relatively simple.

Youíll want to make sure the inspector can easily access workspaces (like around the furnace, circuit breakers, etc.). This will make the inspectorís job easier and allow them to focus on the service theyíre providing you.

If possible, itís also a good idea to provide them with records of important home maintenance and repairs. Inspectors know what red flags to look for with the home, both physically and on paper.

Finally, make sure pets, kids, and any other distractions are away from home or with someone who can attend to them.

Post inspection

After the inspection is complete, the inspector will hand you a report and be able to answer any questions you have about their findings. They will give recommendations about the timeline for repairs that need to be made soon or even years into the future.

With this report in hand, you can determine if there are repairs you want to negotiate with the seller if youíre buying a home. As a seller, this report will tip you off to issues that potential buyers will likely have and give you a chance to address them in advance.




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Posted by Janet Cramb on 11/18/2020

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

So, you're buying a home remotely. Because you probably don't want to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in a house that smells like cats or that features weekly invasions by the SWAT team of the building next door, it's important to find a long-distance realtor you can trust. You need someone who excels at the remote-home-buying experience and who will represent you faithfully. Agents like these are out there, but it may take a bit of work to find them. Here's what we recommend.

Choose a Certified Residential Specialist

A certified residential specialist is a real estate agent who has undergone additional training and who has more experience than other agents. Only about 3 percent of all realtors in the United States have attained CRS status. You can find a CRS locally by using the online search function available at the Residential Real Estate Council.

To become a certified residential specialist, an agent must meet strict minimum requirements, including:

  • Completion of between 25 and 150 successful real estate transactions.
  • Completion of between 16 and 80 additional hours of training and education in realty.
  • Adherence to a higher code of ethics than the average realtor. 

While millions of hard-working real estate agents exist, only a small number have gone that extra mile to earn CRS certification. These are the agents you should trust to handle your transaction when you can't be there in person. 

Choose an Expert Communicator

Choose a realtor who's an expert in your desired area and with whom you feel comfortable from the first conversation. The relationship between you and your remote-home-buying partner should feature excellent communication. He or she needs to understand your needs precisely, including your must-haves, your budget, your time frame, and what you're hoping to find in a neighborhood. If you're bringing along three small dogs, your mother-in-law, or two moody teenagers, your long-distance realtor needs to make sure there's sufficient space for everyone included. 

Find a REALTORģ Who Cares

The REALTORģyou choose should be an expert on local schools. He should be able to get back to you with crime rates and economics. Additionally, he should be present at home inspections to ensure your future home doesn't have a termite infestation or a sketchy, outdated septic system. Everything from water pressure to the condition of outdoor fencing matters. These are all things you would investigate when viewing a home in person. If it's important to you, it should be important to the realtor you choose. 

Seventy-eight percent of all home buyers value the quality of a neighborhood over the size of a home, and 57 percent would rather have a shorter work commute than a sprawling yard. It's statistics like these that can make or break your remote-home-buying experience. It's vital to partner with the best agent for the job. 




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Posted by Janet Cramb on 10/21/2020

The homebuying journey is exciting, particularly for an individual who is pursuing a residence for the first time. Ultimately, there are many questions that a buyer should consider before he or she searches for a house for the first time, and these include:

1. What is my "dream" home?

Perhaps the most enjoyable part of the homebuying journey involves defining your dream residence. Because once you define your dream residence, you'll be able to narrow your house search and move closer to purchasing your first home.

Think about what you absolutely require in a new home. For example, if you want to own a house in a region where the weather is hot and humid year-round, you may require a central air conditioning system. Or, if you want to enjoy a fast, easy commute to work, you may want to pursue residences close to your office.

2. How much can I afford to spend on a house?

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is essential. Because if you have a mortgage in hand when you begin your house search, you may be able to gain a competitive advantage over rival homebuyers.

To obtain a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach you everything you need to know about fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages.

In addition, don't hesitate to get expert insights into assorted mortgage options. The longer you wait to get pre-approved for a mortgage, the longer you may need to wait to kick off your home search. Thus, you risk missing out on a potential dream house if you fail to get your home financing in order.

3. Do I need to hire a real estate agent?

Hiring a real estate agent is a must, especially if you plan to embark on the homebuying journey for the first time. In fact, a real estate agent can help you quickly and effortlessly navigate the housing market and discover your ideal residence in no time at all.

Typically, a real estate agent will offer comprehensive assistance at each stage of the homebuying journey. He or she first will meet with you, learn about your homebuying goals and help you craft a homebuying strategy. A real estate agent then will keep you up to date about houses that match your criteria and set up home showings. And when you find a home that you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer and negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf.

Let's not forget about the advice that a real estate agent will provide, either. A real estate agent is unafraid to be honest with you and will provide feedback throughout the homebuying journey. Also, if you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them.

Take the guesswork out of finding and acquiring your first house Ė employ a real estate agent, and you can receive plenty of support as you move along the homebuying journey.




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Posted by Janet Cramb on 9/30/2020

Purchasing a home may prove to be an arduous process, particularly for those who fail to plan ahead for the property buying journey. Thankfully, there are many quick, easy ways to streamline the homebuying cycle.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you become a smart homebuyer.

1. Study the Real Estate Market

A smart homebuyer realizes the housing market fluctuates constantly. In fact, a real estate market that favors sellers today may favor buyers tomorrow, or vice-versa. But if a homebuyer reviews the housing sector closely, he or she can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market and plan accordingly.

Oftentimes, it helps to analyze the prices of recently sold houses in your preferred cities and towns. This will enable you to see whether houses are selling at or near their initial asking prices. It also will allow you to find out how long homes are available before they sell.

2. Obtain Home Financing

A smart homebuyer understands the importance of getting a mortgage before he or she pursues a residence. Thus, this buyer will meet with lenders and get pre-approved for home financing to further accelerate the homebuying journey.

Generally, it won't take long to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who can help homebuyers quickly analyze various home financing options. These specialists can teach you about a broad array of mortgage options and help you weigh the pros and cons of different mortgages. Then, once you evaluate all of your mortgage options, you can select a mortgage and kick off the homebuying journey with a budget in hand.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

A smart homebuyer knows that working alone to find and purchase a house can be difficult. Therefore, this buyer will allocate time and resources to hire a real estate agent who can provide comprehensive assistance throughout the homebuying journey.

Typically, a real estate agent is a must-have for a homebuyer, regardless of the current housing market's conditions. A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the housing sector and is happy to share his or her expertise with any homebuyer, at any time.

When it comes to navigating the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is ready to help you in any way possible. For instance, if you need help finding a residence in a particular city or town, a real estate agent will make it simple to narrow your house search. On the other hand, if you want to buy a new house as quickly as possible, a real estate agent will ensure you can discover your dream residence on your timeline. Best of all, a real estate agent will respond to any of your homebuying concerns and questions and help you make informed decisions at each stage of the homebuying cycle.

Enter the housing market as a smart homebuyer Ė use the aforementioned tips, and you can increase the likelihood of enjoying a successful homebuying journey.




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