Home Buying

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET A MORTGAGE?

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET A MORTGAGE?

As you begin shopping for a new home, one question will weigh heavily on your mind: “How long will it take to get a mortgage?” For an extremely tiny minority of home buyers, it will take a few days to apply for a mortgage, get approved, and finalize the contract on a new home.

For the vast majority of home buyers getting a mortgage may take four to six weeks or even longer, if there are negative marks on your credit report or small debts you'd like to pay off before applying for a home loan. It can be very hard to be patient with the process.

Applying for a mortgage may seem mysterious (and even dangerous!), but the process is usually straightforward. Here's what generally happens, in the simplest terms possible.

First Step: Apply for a New Home Loan 

First, you'll talk to a mortgage loan officer who will explain a number of terms used in the mortgage industry: fixed rate, adjustable rate, jumbo loans, subprime, 30-year and 15-year, and a bunch of industry terms.

Keep asking questions until you understand and can make a good decision about what type of mortgage loan would be best for your situation. Remember, there are plenty of mortgage lenders in the industry. If the first one you talk to seems like a bad fit, talk to another. Plus it's always good to get several quotes as rates and closing costs can vary dramatically between lenders.

During the mortgage planning phase, you'll discuss financial details on the application and get a good idea of what your monthly payment might be. The loan officer then sends your paperwork to an underwriter who looks it over and asks questions, and may require more paperwork to approve the application to move on in the process.

 

Second Step: Finalizing Paperwork and Securing a Pre-Approved Mortgage?

Once you've found a good mortgage lender and moved through the prequalification process, it's time to decide on the home you want to buy. At this point, ask your realtor to step in to find an affordable property that meets your needs.

Take the information your realtor provides back to your mortgage lender and plug in the numbers: the price of the home, estimated annual insurance and property tax costs, the required down payment, and any other costs that will be paid by you, the buyer.

The loan officer will give you final estimates on the interest rate and points that may apply to the loan and should be able to generate a realistic target payment and all the financial information that describes the proposed loan. This is usually called a Good Faith Estimate of Closing Costs. Make sure you understand all the terms so you're not unpleasantly surprised!

 

Third Step: Closing the Deal on Your New Home?

In the final stage of getting a mortgage, you'll tie up a whole bunch of loose ends. The home will need to be appraised and inspected and reports submitted to the mortgage company. A title search will be conducted, and the mortgage company will want evidence of that. You'll definitely need to secure home owners insurance before the closing date, too.

 Work closely with both your realtor and your mortgage lender at this time, and be prompt about providing paperwork at both ends of the process. Definitely pay attention to amounts you're asked to bring to the closing for down payment and closing costs. The funds you bring to closing must be in the form a certified or cashiers check. You will also need to bring two forms of indentification one of which must be a picture ID.

You've worked hard over the past few weeks to apply for a mortgage, shop for an affordable home, and get to the moment of closing the deal. It might feel like a journey of a thousand miles, but if you ask for help along the way the process is much less frustrating.

At this stage, you're days away from owning a new home! Celebrate your accomplishment and look back on the past few weeks with pride. You've done it!

At the Brad Long Real Estate Group will will walk you through the process from begining to end.

Search all Louisville Real Estate for sale by area, price,  year built, square footage or any other detail on Louisville's superior MLS search engine.

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Seven Steps for First Time Home Buyers

SEVEN STEPS FOR FIRST-TIME HOME BUYERS

 

Home buying is exciting and the joy one feels walking into their first home is incomparable. First time homebuyers need to follow certain steps to get on the pathway to homeownership. Following these steps will make your dream of becoming a homeowner in Louisville, Kentucky (or surrounding area) a smooth process.

 

1               Get Pre-Approved? The first step is to talk to a lender.  If you are serious about buying a house, get pre-approved instead of just pre-qualified, that will show buyers that you are serious.  Your lender should be able to tell you what you need to do, give you advice on your credit score, and explain all the details. If you do not understand, feel rushed or confused and asking for clarification doesn’t help, seek out another mortgage professional.  Communication is vital during these steps, and you should feel with your mortgage professional.  If you aren’t, then listen to that. Your Brad Long Real Estate Group agent can provide you with a list of mortgage lenders with a proven track record of providing superior service to our clients.

 

2               Find a Real Estate Professional Since you are reading this on my blog, I am hopeful that I may be your real estate agent in your home-buying endeavor in the Louisville, KY area. Just as with the mortgage professional, you need to find a real estate professional who you can trust, listens to, answers your questions, and guides you through the home buying process with your needs in mind. Communicate openly and honestly with your realtor about your wants, needs, and concerns, and expect no less than for him or her to do the same during the home buying process.

 

Many people have asked why don’t I just call the phone number on the sign in front of the house when buying? While you certainly can call the listing agent on the sign, it is not a good idea to let them write the purchase contract to buy the house because the listing agent is hired by the seller and is representing the seller's interests, not yours.

 

You may ask - how much does it cost to hire a buyer's agent? Crazy enough, it's free to the buyer. Why is that?  Historically, the buyer's agent is paid out of the seller's proceeds; therefore the buyer's agent compensation comes from the seller's pocket. 

 

3               Search for a Home Make a list of needs and wants when home buying. Your needs are those items that are not negotiable—number of bedrooms for your family size, accessibility for disabilities, distance of potential commute, etc. Your wants are those wishes that are not necessary, but which you hope to find—a pool, lots of windows, a den, etc.  Share this list with your realtor during the home buying process, and continue to visualize the house you want until you find one that speaks to you.

 

This website offers many advanced tools to search Louisville MLS listings, including options to search by neighborhood, zip code, price range or map search. Once you have determined the area and price you would like, then you can register for Property Tracker and all new listings will be emailed daily. In many cases, you will learn of these new listings even before most Realtors.

 

4               Visualize When you walk into a house, envision it empty (if it’s not vacant) and then imagine where you would put your belongings.  Where will the couch go, and the entertainment center?  What wall will your bed go against, and how will your clothes fit in the closets?  Then imagine yourself living in the home… Can you see yourself stumbling from the bed to the kitchen for a cup of coffee in the morning?  Can you imagine the walk from the kitchen to the dining table?  Where will you spend your free time at home?  While making a decision about buying a house, stay in tune with your feelings and how well you can see yourself in it. Could it feel like a home instead of just a house?

 

5               Be Practical Your gut feeling is important, but also look at the house with a practical eye. Are the updates needed something you can handle?  Does it have enough storage?  How do its attributes compare with the list of needs you made in step three? These are crucial and honest questions to ask yourself before buying a home.

 

6               Make an Offer You might need a second showing to know for sure, but when you find the house you want, let your real estate professional know. Together, you will put together an offer, and your real estate professional will write it up.  Once again, communication and trust are key, and the competence of your real estate professional is essential in this step. Any mistakes at this step can cost both money and frustration, so if you are at all uncertain, please feel free to seek professional legal advice before you sign any agreement. A good real estate professional will understand and support your decision. Buying a home is the largest purchase most people will ever make in their life.

 

7               Don't Stop There Stay active after the offer is accepted. Once you have a contract on the house, post a list of important dates in a prominent place so you are informed about what steps need to come next.  (Your Brad Long Real Estate Group professional will give you this information.) Then find a good inspector and have the house inspected. The money you spend on this will more than come back to you in the future.  n addition to the inspection, do an inspection of your own about 24 hours before closing.  A good real estate agent will gladly take you through the place one more time to ensure that nothing major changed since you saw it last and that the property is still in the condition of the one you agreed to buy.

 

There’s no place like home! I’m excited for you to get to enjoy the feelings that come with owning your very first home in Louisville, KY.  If you have any questions or concerns about the Louisville, KY real estate market, contact...

In lieu of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, check out these great 'deals' on Louisville homes!

Many people love the holidays because of the great deals that they can find while shopping, especially on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. These deals usually pertain to hot ticket items such as TVs, appliances, movies, etc. Does real estate cross your mind when you think of deals during the holidays? Probably not...but that's because there are deals on homes for sale in Louisville KY nearly every day of the year!

Louisville homes experience price reductions all the time, which is a great opportunity for you to find the perfect home at a great value. Below are 10 of the most recently price reduced homes in the Louisville area...give my team a call at (502) 509-6812 when you would like to schedule a private showing!

    1. 9106 Terry Rd, Louisville, KY 40258 - $109,900

    3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, full basement, 2 car detached garage...[More info]

    2. 5403 Sunnybrook Dr, Louisville, KY 40214 - $129,000

    3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, huge back yard...[More info]

    3. 1067 Cherokee Rd, Louisville, KY 40204 - $995,000

    4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, newly renovated carriage house, amazing master suite...[More info]

    4. 10901 Altsheler Pl, Louisville, KY 40229 - $104,000

    4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, completely remodeled...[More info]

    5. 7033 Beamtree Dr, Shelbyville, KY 40065 - $176,500

    3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, only 2 years old, open floor plan...[More info]

    6. 4128 Lilac Vista Dr, Louisville, KY 40241 - $235,000

    3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, very desirable location...[More info]

    7. 5842 Zaring Mill Rd, Shelbyville, KY 40065 - $179,000

    3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, large 2 car garage, spacious eat-in kitchen...[More info]

    8. 6679 Rutledge Rd, Louisville, KY 40258 - $109,500

    3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, large 3 car garage...[More info]

    9. 3206 Lakeshore Blvd, La Grange, KY 40031 - $159,900

    3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, spacious master bedroom...[More info]

    10. 609 Scioto Dr, Louisville, KY 40223 - $259,950

    3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, former Home-o-Rama home...[More info]

    ...

    Are You a First Time Home Buyer?

    Are You a First Time Home Buyer?

    As of 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 64.5% of Americans own their own home. However, only 29% of those people own their home "free and clear," meaning they no longer owe the bank, or anyone else, for a home mortgage. According to Real Estate ABC, average home costs range from $159,500 to $282,000, depending on the region you are looking to settle in. Wherever you go, it is clear that buying a home will be a huge financial decision that will affect decades of your life. If you are looking for first time home buying tips, here are three of the best.

    • Do Not Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

    One of the contributing factors to the economic collapse beginning in 2007, now known as the Great Recession, was unfair and predatory lending practices on the part of banks to homeowners, according to NBC News. Lending institutions were giving first time home buyers financing in huge amounts that they could not possibly hope to sustain payments on. Eventually, the inevitable happened. As a result, according to NC State University, millions of homes were repossessed by banks.

    Protect yourself and use an independent mortgage calculator, like Bankrate, to figure out what you can actually afford to be paying on a house through the years.

    • Take Advantage of First Time Home Buyers Programs

    Likely one of the most crucial first time home buying tips is to do your research and take advantage of first time home buyers benefits. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has a complete list of first time home buyers programs in all 50 states. As you might imagine, these benefits for buying a home first time vary depending on your location. For instance, if you are looking at homes in Louisville KY, then you may be eligible for first time home buyers programs in Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, and elsewhere. Use the Department of Housing's webpage to find more specific information for your area.

    • Do Not Buy on the Spot

    Obviously, buying a home is probably the single largest investment you will make in your lifetime, so it's important to be choosy. You will want to shop around to find not only the best home aesthetically but the best home financially. However, as About.com's Home Buying & Selling points out, do not take too long looking around for your new home, as others will likely be going through home buying steps at the same time, potentially driving up the price on the home you have been looking at. Balance your needs and wants quickly but responsibly to get the home that's the best fit for you.

    No matter if you are looking at homes for sale in Louisville KY or in New York City, keep these three tips in mind for a better, potentially less expensive first home buying experience. Many people are surprised to find that they are eligible for first time home buyers programs that can help them get their dream home. Now that you know, get out their and find your slice of paradise!

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    The Time Is Nigh. Have You Considered Buying a House Yet?

    Your First HouseThe time has never been better for buying a home first time. Rates are at historical lows. And prices still remain 30% below peak from before the crash. With how cheap things are, and all of the first time home buyer assistance programs available, first home buying steps can be short and sweet. To make things easier, all one need do is follow a few first home buying tips.

    Of course, before you should even be looking for first time home buying tips, you should be saving money for a deposit. The deposit is often one of the most important things to have, because it is necessary for the buying process. The more that you put down, the less you need to borrow, which means the less you pay interest on.

    Before you begin looking at homes, and getting your hopes up, visit a few banks. Talk to them about how much you can get, how much they charge in interest. Know your options and who has the best rates and offers. From there, ask them what size mortgage you can expect to receive. That number can help you to determine what homes to be looking for when you begin your search. You can know what price ranges to be looking in, and ignore anything too high.

    Another of the simple first time home buying tips is to make a list. You may end up seeing a ton of different homes in your search. Before you go in, make a check list of all of the qualities that you want to find in your new home. Whether it is location, a pool, a finished basement, or raised ceilings, know what you want. Buying a home is a hefty investment, so you should find the perfect home to fit your needs. Don't settle. It is better to wait to find that perfect home than to spend an exorbitant amount of money on a home that you are not in love with.

    Being a first time home buyer can be intimidating. One of the most important things to remember is that you should stay in constant communication with the bank and the real estate agent. By knowing absolutely everything that is going on, you never need to go into a decision blind, and can be well informed throughout the whole process. This will make the process of buying easier, more fun, and much more satisfying when you finally do close on the house of your dreams.

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    Always Check the Permit History of Your New Kentucky Home

    When purchasing a new home, you want to always protect yourself from unwanted surprises. Yes we think we do everything possible like a home inspection, title searches, etc., but few of us ever think about going into the building department and asking about old permits that may have been taken out on the property that we are looking at to buy. You always want to find out as much as you can about the property before the closing.

    I always suggest that the offer should include an inspection contingency even if you're making an offer in any kind of competition. The contingency wording should be broad enough for you to inspect whatever you deem necessary, so you will have the confidence that the home will satisfy your housing needs within a budget you can afford. You should always have the option to withdraw from the contract and have your deposit returned if the seller wont correct the problem(s) or at least participate in a mutual solution of the problem(s).

    An important item that is often overlooked during buyers' inspections is the permit history on the house. It can be a hassle dealing with the city bureaucracy, and few buyers have time to go to the city building and planning department. If you can't do the investigation yourself, you should pay someone to do it for you because overlooking it could come back to haunt you for years to come. Many times previous owners have taken out permits and either not finished the work, or not called for the final inspection of whatever work they were supposed to do. Some times the previous owners just forgot to call the city for final buyoff and many times the previous owner did more than what the permit called for and sometimes the work was done incorrectly or not to code.  While you're checking on old permits, be sure to find out if any back fees are owed. You may need to check directly with the cashier at the building and planning department.

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    Facts About Buying Your Louisville Home

    If you are like most people, when you decide to buy a new home, you will make a down payment and get a mortgage loan on the balance.  If that amount falls short of 20% of the homes value, and you are going to get a conventional loan, be aware that you will most likely have to pay for 'private mortgage insurance' (PMI). Most lenders go by the old rule that the more a person puts into the purchase then the lower is the risk.

    Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is a policy that protects the lender against financial loss if you should default on your loan. Lenders always will seek to minimize their risk by asking for a substantial down payment, usually 20% or more, or will want insurance that will guarantee them the principal amount if they have to foreclose.

    The lender benefits from the PMI insurance but the borrower has to pay for it. The premiums will vary.  Factors that affect the cost of the insurance include the type of mortgage, loan amount, and the amount of your down payment.  Generally, you can expect PMI to be about 0.5 percent of the loan amount.  

    Is there a way to avoid having to pay for PMI? Some lenders will waive the PMI requirements if you pay a higher interest rate on your mortgage loan. In this option, they actually build the PMI cost into the loan and make the premium payments for you.  There are other options available that vary from lender to lender and it's best to discuss this with your lender when deciding on what type of PMI loan you want.

    If you have had your loan for awhile and been paying the PMI, the PMI portion will eventually end.  When you have at least 20 percent equity in your home (home value minus loan balance), you can ask your lender to have PMI cancelled. Most lenders will require a good payment history, be up to date and current with the payments, and have no liens against the home.  Some mortgage loans will have a minimum wait time before PMI can be eliminated. The lender will require a new appraisal of the home and the homeowner will have to pay for that.
    PMI is not tax deductible. You pay the fee and never see any benefit from it.
    It is wise to keep abreast of your homes value at all times and then notify your lender when your loan to value has gone below 80%.

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    BANKS AND CREDIT UNIONS..WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE

    I am often asked by my customers about what the difference is between a bank and a credit union especially when one of my Louisville buyers is looking for a mortgage loan source. I am probably asked the same question several times in a month.

    To be as brief as possible:
    Bank and Credit Unions are more alike than they are different. The key philosophy behind them are different in that banks operate with the goal of generating profits and credit unions are community based institutions that are non profit. In credit unions, you must have a membership and it requires that you have an account with minimum deposits, and each member is a part owner in the credit union. The higher the deposits, or shares, the higher the share of profits.

    The credit union has a Board of Directors who makes the major financial decisions. A bank is owned by a private company or corporation. Most credit unions usually finance small projects related to community development and try to keep money within the community. Banks, on the other hand, tend to finance larger projects and they may or may not be in the community where the bank is located.  Usually the interest rate charged by banks is a little higher than what credit unions charge.

    Credit unions are exempt from paying most state and federal taxes and therefore usually able to offer higher savings account rates and usually lower rates on loans. Banks also tend to have larger variety of products and services that  allow you to centralize your banking needs. One of the biggest disadvantages in joining a credit union is their relative inconvenience as they typically have less ATMs and branches and usually lack variety in investment products and services.

    Choosing a bank or credit union is all about what's suitable for your own particular needs. There can be differences in rates and services in different credit unions. It is best to check out the credit unions that you may be eligible to join and your bank to see what type of mortgage loans are offered and their going rates.

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    Credit Reports Do Not Tell Everything About You

    To most of us, it seems like the credit reporting agencies are constantly spying on everything we do and every move we make. Our names, address and social security number along with our birthdate appears on our credit reports. There are some things though that don't appear on credit reports, and the lenders, or banks, can't see when they run a credit report on any of us.  Here are 7 secrets that your credit report won't reveal:

    1    YOUR SALARY
    Salaries stopped being on credit reports in the early 1990s. They had been up to then but it was decided that there were too many variables involved for them to be accurate. Other reasons are that income really isn't a measure of credit worthiness, it is just a measure of capacity. A credit report and your credit scores are meant to tell a creditor whether or not you are going to make a payment, not whether you can make a payment.
    Unemployment benefits, alimony, child support and public assistance  does not appear on credit reports.

    2    EMPLOYMENT STATUS
    Your job information is not shown on your credit report. If you lose your job, no one will know. Employment information, though, could be there and will vary slightly depending on which of the three credit bureau reports a lender pulls. Names of your employer or past employers could be on the report if you applied for credit and listed them on any of the applications you might have filled out. Most agencies wont list your job title or dates of employment. Employment information reported varies with the three agencies.

    3    SPOUSES CREDIT HISTORY
    Contrary to popular belief, when someone runs a credit report on you, that is all he or she will see. If you are a co signer on certain accounts, the other names or relationship to you will not be shown. One thing you might notice no matter where you live: When you pull your own credit report, some versions will include your spouse's name, says Ulzheimer. But the reports lenders and others view won't have that.

    4    ANY CRIMINAL PAST HISTORY
    Credit bureaus don't include criminal conduct on credit reports.
    Three exceptions: First, if you have a financial situation that also involves the court system, such as a judgment or lien, it will show up on your credit report. Second, child support payments can also show up as a regular debt on your credit report. If you receive a fine or ticket, don't pay it and it goes to collection, then that collection activity could show up on your report. But it would appear as a debtor trying to collect an overdue debt. There wouldn't be any details on the initial infraction.

    5    MEDICAL BILLS AND DEBT
    The Fair Credit Reporting Act prohibits listing information on your report that jeopardizes your medical privacy. Often, this means medical debt doesn't appear unless it goes to collections. One possible exception: Pay with a credit card or through a third-party lender and the balance could show as a regular debt, minus any medical information.

    6    NONTRADITIONAL TYPE LOANS
    Pawned some valuables? Taken out a payday loan? Signed for a car title loan?  Those transactions don't show up on your credit report. But if you default and the lender enlists a collection agency to come after you for the balance, that action likely will go on your report. Usually utility payments for gas, lights, telephone, etc., wont show up on your credit report, however some do report late pays. If a bill is not paid and goes to collection, then that may end up on your report.

    7    YOUR NET WORTH
    A credit report is basically a list of all your current and recent past debts and obligations. That is all.
    There's nothing on a credit report that talks about how much money you have in the bank, the money you have in a brokerage account, your stock options or any other assets you might have. Also not on the report: the worth of your home or home equity. The only related item that you could see: your mortgage, plus any loans or liens you have on the property.

    Some other things that usually wont show up on your credit report:
    *Not paying your rent.
    *Late payments of taxes.
    *Late payments to small vendors.
    *Anything your creditor agrees not to report.
    *Not carrying a balance on a credit card account.

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    SOME MISCONCEPTIONS REGARDING CREDIT

    Almost every day I somehow get involved with having to explain to customers and potential customers, the importance of having and maintaining a good credit rating.  In recent years, most of us have gone through some sort of situation where our credit rating (good or bad) was threatened or jeopardized in some way. Most of us are pretty well informed about credit ratings and how they work. Many times a day, we hear about identity theft and how it can hurt your credit rating. With all of this said, I thought maybe I could clarify some misconceptions regarding credit and credit reports. The subject is important to me as it affects my business and my customers and potential customers.

    If you are about to purchase a home, refinance your present home, rent an apartment or home, then you know how important your credit rating can become. Relatively small credit score differences can keep you from getting into that apartment or from buying that home you have dreamed about.
    Here are 5 myths regarding credit:
          1    MYTH: Having a lot of cash, or savings in the bank, or having a good job and good income, or even lots of equity in your home will make your FICO score less relevant when you apply for a new loan for a purchase or for refinance purposes.
        FACT: No matter how much cash or savings you might have, or how much money you make, if you want a real estate mortgage loan, you must meet the mortgage lender’s FICO score guidelines, and those guidelines are getting tougher and tougher all the time.
           2    MYTH: If you have no debt, or no late payments, then your credit rating or score should be good.
        FACT:  Don't confuse financial responsibility and good credit, they are two different things. Having no credit accounts or debts doesn't give you good credit - it only gives you no credit.
          3    MYTH: If you check your own FICO score prior to filling out a loan application, it will help you because you won't have any negative surprises.
        FACT:  The originator of your real estate mortgage loan, whether it is a Mortgage Broker or a banker, must pull a credit report on you from their own credit score provider and the score maybe different from the one you saw when you checked your FICO score, and it may even have different detailed line items than the one you saw.    
          4    MYTH: If you have had a foreclosure or a short sale on your credit record, your credit report will be damaged for at least 7 years, making it almost impossible to get any credit, especially for a mortgage loan.
        FACT:  Derogatory or negative credit items, like late mortgage payments, foreclosures and short sales, appear on your credit report for 7 years, however,  your credit score can be rehabilitated enough to be able to buy a home or obtain other credit in less time, depending on your particular circumstances.
         5    MYTH: Having a short sale that shows up on your credit report is better than having a foreclosure show up on it.
        FACT: According to the Credit Reporting Agencies, short sales and foreclosures will have the same impact on your credit score. Of course, like everything else there are exceptions and your own particular circumstances will determine which way the agencies will rate you.
    In summary, it is best to have a few good open accounts, and to keep the payments up and current at all times.

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    Know More About Mortgage Financing Before Buying

    The housing market in Louisville has certainly heated up in the last few months and if the experts are right, this upturn will continue.  This is good news for buyers, sellers and for all the real estate professionals.

    With more and more people looking to buy a new home, possibly their first home or even a commercial property, it has become clear that a good number of people really do not understand real estate financing. In face in a recent survey involving over 1000 current and potential homeowners, run by the Zillow Real Estate website, over 1/3 of the participants gave wrong answers regarding basic real estate mortgage and financing including information regarding banks and  lenders and other important related questions.



    Here are some of the results of the Zillow website survey:

    • 31% of buyers in the survey, didn't think that it was possible to get any kind of mortgage loan with less than 5% down.  This is incorrect..there are loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration that can require as little as 3.5% down. 
    • 34% didn't know what the term 'annual percentage rate' (APR) means.  Terms like 'APR', 'points', 'origination fees', 'underwriting fees' 'appraisal fees', 'escrow' and 'title fees' and all other costs involved with getting a mortgage loan are important so you can figure out what the overall cost of the loan is going to be.
    • Many of those surveyed thought that they could get the best deal by going through the bank where their checking and savings accounts were held. Competing banks and lenders can often undercut other banks by large margins.
    • 25% of those surveyed thought that you were obligated to close with the lender that has already pre approved your mortgage. In reality, there's no obligation. If buyers see better terms available they should take them.
    • Many in the survey indicated that they thought that lenders were required by law to charge the same fees to all clients for credit reports, appraisals, etc. This is incorrect..Fees vary from bank to bank and can often be negotiated.
    • In the survey, over 26% of the people said that once pre approved they thought they were obligated to go with the lender that pre approved them. This is not true, you are not obligated and if you find a better rate, go with that lender.
    • Many homeowners in the survey thought that if their mortgages were underwater, or if they owed more than the property was worth, they could not refinance their existing loans into lower interest rate loans.  This is incorrect. There are many lender who deal specifically with underwater loans and refinancing those loans.
    • Nearly a third of the survey participants thought that if they had gone through a foreclosure or short sale, they would have to wait seven years for their credit scores to recover so they could buy a home again.  This depends on each situation and many who experience a foreclosure or short sale can get financing in as little as a couple of years.

    So often the buyers focus on getting a lower home price and totally ignore the importance of finding the right loan for their situation. I always recommend that buyers shop around to multiple lenders and compare rates and fees to get the best deal. Working with a good mortgage broker can go a long way to help simplify the application process and get you the best interest rates and lowest fees. If you don't know what APR means then it's going to be difficult to compare rates of the different lenders.

    If a home buyer can lower their interest rate by just half a percentage point, they can not only increase their purchasing power, but save thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. For every $100,000 borrowed, a half percentage point lower rate will lower your monthly payments by about $28 per month on a 30 year fixed rate loan, and that adds up to more than $10,000  over the 30 year life of the loan.

    In next week’s blog posts I will outline the many different types of mortgage loans that are available.

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    Home Styles in Louisville

     Homes in Louisville run from modern construction to the most historical like those originally built in Crescent Hill in the 1850s.

     It might be interesting to point out some of the many styles of houses in the area. Each style will have a link to a current listing for sale of its type.

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    Tips From a Girl Whose Been There

    I want to preface this blog by saying that I am not a real estate agent and have no real idea what I am talking about when it comes to what is best for an interested homebuyer’s decisions.  I am simply a person who bought a house a few months ago, couldn’t be happier with the choice I made, and want to pass along a few pieces of advice that I think could be helpful for those going through the process that I just finished.  

    Our homebuying process began about three years ago when my husband and I were living in a one-bedroom condo, which we loved.  While taking a camping trip in Harlan County, Kentucky I was bit by a Mud Dobber and subsequently had to be rushed to the nearby hospital as I was covered in hives and my eyes were swollen shut.  Not only did we find out that day that it takes quite a lot of Benadryl to reduce the puffiness associated with a Mud Dobbber bite, but that we were expecting our first baby.  We were both in shock as you could imagine.  From that day, our search was on for the perfect house for our growing family.  

    My husband and I started off on our own, without a realtor (Big Mistake).  We searched websites weekly, went to open houses on Sunday,  and drove around the neighborhoods we found most desirable in our spare time.  At first we thought it would be easy to find a new home so we didn’t take things too seriously. That’s how we ended up converting our sunroom into a nursery for our son Maxwell. We would have preferred to move before Max was born, but things weren’t that bad, we were comfortable, that was until he began to walk. Maxwell’s toys began to take over our small space and he was frustrated with no back yard or room to play. Just when I felt like things couldn’t get any more crowded, I found out I was expecting baby number two.  

    The news of number two put the search for a house in to high gear.  Knowing what I know now, I would have drastically changed the way we searched for a home. I truly believe it would have cut down on the time and energy that we spent looking.  

    My first tip is to do some soul searching.  Research the areas that you are interested in moving to and really decide what neighborhood best fits you and your family.  My husband and I lived in a condo in the Highlands and wanted our house to be in the Highlands. We looked in that area, but didn’t think we could find anything in our price range so we focused on other neighborhoods.  We wasted so much time, nearly two years, going to open houses and private showings of homes, and driving through neighborhoods that in reality we would not be happy living in.  In the end, we did find a house in the Highlands that fit our budget and everything on our list of must-haves.  Nearly every day we say to ourselves how lucky we are to live in a neighborhood that we love, with neighbors we enjoy, and a lifestyle that we want to be a part of.  I suggest that you decide which neighborhood lifestyle fits yours and stick with a similar community to join.  If you are just a little patient and wait for the right house to come on the market I bet you will save yourself a lot of wasted time and energy in the end.

    My next tip is to scour the neighborhood and see what the neighbors are like.  If the community is offering any festivals, yard sales, or farmers markets, go and introduce yourself.  See if it is a welcoming community or if people stay to themselves.  You can tell a lot by driving by the house you are looking at on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon to see what the neighbors are doing. 

    My last tip is to do a 360 degree view of the house.  Look at all the buildings around the house and who is living there.  Are there any apartment complexes around the house and if so what kind of tenants live there? If you have children are your neighbors to either side of you friendly and okay with the occasional ball in the yard? You would be surprised how many times we ran in to cranky neighbors! The building across the street is the one you are going to be looking at the most, so make sure it’s not an eyesore.  Most of the time these are not deal breakers, but just some food for thought.

    All of these tips are things that my family happened upon my sheer luck, karma, or fate if you believe in that.   We put offers in on over six houses in neighborhoods as far away as Goshen.  At the time I was devastated, but looking back, luckily, none of those offers were accepted because the Highlands was the right fit for us. My final thoughts for you, if you are struggling through the homebuying process now or are about to begin, is don’t settle.  Whatever house you end up with will be the perfect one.  It might not be the “forever perfect house,” but it will be the “right now perfect house.” Good Luck, and that moment when you are sitting in your new living room looking back and saying, “remember when…” will come soon enough.

    To learn more about The Highlands of Louisville, please visit Louisville Highlands Homes for Sale.

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    Tips for Managing Your Move

    Moving to a new home can be an exciting experience. As many folks know who have recently moved to Louisville from across the county or from the far reaches of the globe – as well as those hose have just moved across town – it’s also a whole lot of work. But don’t let it intimidate you! Yes, it’s a big job, but with the right approach, it can add to the excitement of your new beginning, not take away from it. Following these tips will help you manage moving into your Louisville home. Believe it or not, you’ll be all smiles when the moving truck arrives.

    Overdo It on Supplies – There’s a universal law when it comes to moving: You will need way more moving supplies than you think you will. So stock up on boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, newspapers, colored dots and markers, and when you think you have plenty, go back and get more. This will keep you from having to make trips to the store for these items during the actual move, which slows things down and causes unnecessary frustration.

    Plan Ahead – You’re not just moving your belongings from one home to another; you are changing your whole way of living. Too often, people forget to take care of the many, many “life details” that are involved in changing residences. Well in advance of your move, make a list of all the things about your life that will change in some way. Devote a major section of this list to all home-related services that you’ll need, like gas and electric, water, telephone, cable, Internet, etc. Have one column for the date your service will end at the old place and another for the date it will begin at the new one. Then check each one off as the service is transferred. On another section of this list, jot down the names of every company or organization who will need your new address. To help you avoid forgetting some, start your list a few months before the move and have it handy every time you go through the mail. The bills that arrive each day, either by post or via email, will help you remember what to add to your list. The companies that manage your mortgage, car loan, credit cards, cell phone, newspaper and magazine subscriptions, etc. will need to know about your new residence. Also, remember to file your change of address with the post office.

    Pack It Up – The actual packing of the boxes may not be tons of fun, but there are ways to do it that will make the whole process much smoother. First and foremost, remember not to pack boxes too full and be careful with heavy objects. Too many people end up trying to lug overfilled boxes out to a waiting truck only to have them break from the excessive weight, which can result in damaged items, lost time and additional stress. Also, don’t just randomly put items into boxes without an organizational strategy. Instead, label and color-code each box so you know exactly where it goes in the new house. For instance, you can write “kitchen” on a box you put dishes in and add a yellow dot. That way, when you’re unpacking, you’ll know that all of the boxes with the yellow dots hold items that will go in your new kitchen cabinets.

    Prepare a Day One Box - Let each member of the family pack a box with the things he or she will need on the very first day and night in the new house. Things like sheets for the bed, a towel, necessary toiletries, a lamp, alarm clock, a change of clothes, medicines, etc. will help everyone feel more secure knowing that even if some of their items don’t see the light of day for a while, life will still go on just fine.The actual move may not be the most exciting part of purchasing a new home, but using these techniques will help you expertly manage your move to or within Louisville. A little advanced planning and the use of a couple clever tricks on moving day will get you in your new home quicker so that you can get on to the adventures that await you there.

    Viewing Louisville Homes for Sale has never been easier. Our team of Buyers agents are ready to help make finding your new home easier. We want to help you with all of our search tools. Consult us for all of your Louisville real estate needs.

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    Home Inspections will Provide Peace of Mind

    We all know that it’s a good idea to see our doctor for a yearly physical and to open wide in the dentist's office if we want to head off cavities before they begin. What’s true for our physical and dental health is true for our “home health” as well. When buying a home, it’s important to have a thorough home inspection completed before we sign on the dotted line. But how do we choose one? And what should we expect once we do?

    People not familiar with the real estate or home building industries can be confused about what to look for in choosing a good home inspector. The first rule of thumb is not to make price your #1 criterion in making your selection. Instead, consider these questions as you do your research:

    • How long have they been in the business of home inspection, not just a home-related industry? And how many home inspections have they done? 
    • Are they certified by the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors or the American Society of Home Inspectors
    • Can you access references and testimonials from other home owners who used their services and were thrilled with the result? 
    • Will they provide you with sample home inspection reports so you can see an example of what you’ll be getting? 

    Positive answers to these questions will narrow the field for you. At that point, you can use price as a component in the decision-making. An average fee for an inspection is between $250 and $500. You can also consider candidates who provide additional, related services, like mold testing, termite inspection, radon testing, etc., to help you make your final choice.

    Once you have selected a home inspector, what should you expect him or her to find? Your home inspector should check both the inside and outside of the home to identify any problems – or potential problems – with the roof, the home’s structure, the plumbing, the electrical writing, the heating system, and any moisture issues. To become more familiar with the parts of the home that your inspector will review, check out a home inspection checklist that you can find online. This can help you not only anticipate what your inspector will be looking for, but it can also help you come up with questions you may have when the inspection is completed.

    We wouldn’t expect perfect physical health if we never had a check-up, and we wouldn’t be surprised if we developed cavities if we never saw the dentist. Similarly, the health of the home will are planning to purchase should always be assessed by a professional home inspector. Since for most of us, our home is our biggest investment, it’s more than worth the cost of the inspection for Louisville home owners to have the peace of mind that comes from knowing exactly what we are purchasing. The buyers agents with the Brad Long Real Estate Group can provide you with a list of home inspectors that have a proven record of competience. 

    Search for your perfect home on Louisville Real Estate the areas easiest to use search site.

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