Tuesday, October 20, 2020 / by Ashley Yates
The ultimate timeline ensures the smoothest of transitions.
By JENNIFER NELSON
Image: Iriana Shiyan/Shutterstock
A real yard. Closets bigger than your average microwave. The freedom to decorate however you darn well please! Making the switch from renting to owning is exhilarating, but many rookie homebuyers find the process trickier to navigate than they expected.
This is why we created our First-Time HomeBuyer Checklist. The 12-month timeline will help you sidestep common mistakes, like paying too much interest or getting stuck with the wrong house. (Yep, it happens!)
12 Months Out
Check your credit score. Get a copy of your credit report at annualcreditreport.com. The three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) are each required to give you a free credit report once a year. A Federal Trade Commission study found one in four Americans identified errors on their credit report, and 5% had errors that could lead to higher rates ...
Friday, February 21, 2020 / by Ashley Yates
Here’s how to get creative. But understand the ins and outs to make the right decision for you.
By: MARY BETH STORJOHANN
You’ve done your research. Interest rates are low, and you know the exact area you want to buy your future home in and the details you desire down to the type of flooring in the kitchen. Now the only thing standing between you and a seat at the offer table is figuring out how you’re going to come up with a reasonable down payment.
Aside from going the traditional route of saving slowly and consistently over time to reach your savings goal, consider these other creative options for funding your down payment:
#1 Negotiate a Pay Raise
If you’re not comfortable asking for what you want, now’s the time to learn. Research comparable pay for your position, create a list of your accomplishments and the value you’ve added to your company, and schedule a sit down with your boss to discuss compensation.
Tack on an e ...
Monday, December 16, 2019 / by Ashley Yates
By: Kelley Walters
The credit score to buy a house can be as low as 580.
A low credit score doesn't have to lock you out of home ownership. A mortgage will probably cost you more (both in dollars and angst) than someone with stellar credit, but many lenders are willing to work with you.
Here's what you need to know about low-credit score mortgages:
What Counts as "Low Credit" Anyway?
First, let's debunk the home-buying myth that you have to have a gold-plated credit score to buy a house. Lenders review your whole financial picture. If you have a steady income, a regular payment history, and some cash in hand, that will help balance your less-than-perfect credit.
Here's how FICO generally categorizes credit scores:
800+ = Excellent credit score
740-799 = Very good credit score
670-739 = Good credit score
580-669 = Fair credit score
Below 580 = Poor credit score
A credit score of 66 ...
Friday, December 6, 2019 / by Ashley Yates
By: Amy Howell Hirt
How not to make money mistakes as a fledgling homeowner.
The negotiations are over. Your mortgage is settled. The keys to your first home are in hand.
Finally, you can install your dream patio.
You can paint the walls without losing your security deposit.
Heck, you could knock out a wall. You're soooo ready to be a homeowner.
So ready in fact, you're about to make some costly mistakes.
"You have to rein it in and be smart," says Daniel Kanter, a homeowner with five years under his belt. Especially in your first year, when your happiness, eagerness (and sometimes ignorance) might convince you to make one of these eight mistakes:
#1 Going With the Lowest Bid
The sounds your HVAC system is making clearly require the knowledge of a professional (or perhaps an exorcist?).
But you've been smart and gotten three contractor bids, so why not go with the lowest price?
You might want to check out this story from a Michigan ...
Wednesday, November 6, 2019 / by Ashley Yates
By: Leanne Potts
Published: July 12, 2018
Real estate negotiation tips so you can buy your dream home — and not overpay.
You've looked at enough houses to fill an entire season of House Hunters and finally picked one to buy. Now you're ready to make an offer.
Your agent can help guide you through this nail-biting phase of negotiating a house price, but ultimately, you call the shots. Here's how to negotiate like a boss.
Fail #1: Thinking House Price is All That Matters
That house with a price point $15k below your budget? It may seem like a deal — until you add on the costs of maintenance and replacing the aging appliances.
Planning on repainting, remodeling, or landscaping, too? Suddenly the price looks a whole lot higher.
When developing your offer, calculate in the costs that will go above and beyond a mortgage payment. Then you can negotiate with an eye on the total cost of owning the house, not just the sticker price.