First Time Home Buyer Mistakes That Can Cost Thousands

Save thousands when buying a homeAre you buying a home? Would you like to save thousands? You can if you avoid 3 common mistakes home buyers make when buying real estate.

1. Buying More Than What You Can Truly Afford

Just because the bank says that you qualify a certain amount for a mortgage doesn’t mean that you have to choose a house at the very top of this price range. Many people get carried away and buy the most expensive house that they qualify for.

If something unexpected happens, they may find it difficult to keep up with their monthly mortgage payments later on.

Remember that you will also have student loan payments, vehicle costs, credit card bills, health insurance, groceries, retirement savings and other expenses, so make sure that your mortgage payments will comfortably fit within your budget.

2. Failing To Get A Home Inspection

Before buying a house, you should always have a professional inspection done. Not doing so is a big mistake. You don’t want to get stuck with hidden damage that could saddle you with the expense of ongoing repairs.

Hiring a professional to assess the home’s condition is absolutely essential before making your final decision.

3. Disregarding Your Future

When you are buying real estate, don’t just think about how the home will work for you in the immediate future. Also consider what your needs will be five, ten or even 20 years from now.

Find out the development plans for the neighborhood. Look for reputable schools if you intend to start a family. And consider whether the street’s home values are likely to increase or decline in the future.

Your Next Steps

Don’t let the home-buying process overwhelm you! Learn from these common first-time home buyers’ mistakes, so you can avoid them.

A great next step toward planning for your first home purchase is to consult with a trusted, licensed mortgage professional who is trained in providing the best advice on how a new home will affect your budget.

If you are buying or selling a home in the greater Phoenix area, please get in touch with me.
I’m happy to tell you about my listing services or help you shop for a new home! 480 688-2000

Beware of a Home That Keeps Haunting

haunted-houseWith the economic downturn, anyone dealing in real estate quickly became familiar with previously little-known terms such as foreclosure and short sale. Now that the housing market is picking back up and people are moving on, a new term is coming to light — zombie titles.

The Zombie Title

This is when a home has been vacated because the owners defaulted on their loan and their bank started the foreclosure process. However, for some reason or another the bank never completed the foreclosure and sold the home.

So, when the city starts fining someone for the overgrown grass and dilapidated structure, the homeowner who thought they were finished with the property gets the bill.

A Home That Keeps Haunting

Homeowners think they don’t own the property any longer and therefore try to move on by rebuilding their credit score and finding a new place to live. It can be a rude awakening to find out that not only do they still own a home they could have been living in, but also its long vacancy has caused it to fall into disrepair.

Its Spooking The Neighborhood

These vacant homes can decrease the value of a neighborhood. If the bank or the un-suspecting homeowner are neither one taking care of the property, then it can become overgrown and an eyesore on the block. It becomes a problem with no solution because the owner won’t want to invest any money in fixing up the property when the bank could come back with the foreclosure at any time.

Nail Shut The Foreclosure Coffin

Homeowners who have foreclosed on a home should double check that their bank actually followed through to closing on a sale. They could contact their lender or check public property records just to make sure. Otherwise, they could be haunted by their housing nightmare all over again.

Don’t let the zombie title of a past property haunt your future! Check with your bank to make sure you’re free and clear of your foreclosure. If you’d like more information on zombie titles or have other questions about local real estate, contact Debra Obrock  at: 480 688-2000
 

What to Look for During Final Walkthrough on Your New Home

checklist-The final walkthrough is your last opportunity to ensure that everything in the home is in working order and that there are no potential problems waiting for you when you take over ownership of the property.

By the time you get to the final walkthrough on your property, the home buying process is almost complete. However, it is still important to pay close attention to this final step, as it will be crucial in the success of your home purchase.

While conducting a final walkthrough of the property, give yourself enough time to look carefully at everything and not be rushed. You are looking for any new issues that might have arisen since the last time you viewed the home.

Once you close on the purchase the previous owners will not be obligated for fixing any damage. For this reason, you should schedule your walkthrough approximately 24 hours before closing on a home.

What You Should Look For?

When you are performing your walkthrough, here are some of the important issues that you should be watching out for:

  • Are all major appliances in working condition? Do they all have their warranties and owner’s manuals?
  • Do all of the light switches and outlets work?
  • Have any of the fixtures or appliances gone missing, even though the seller agreed to leave them behind?
  • If you have agreed on any repairs, has the seller had these repairs completed?
  • Are there any signs of damage (i.e. scratched walls or floors) as a result of the previous owner moving out?
  • Do all of the water faucets and toilets function as they should?
  • Check the exterior of the house, especially if there has been a storm or strong winds since your last visit.
  • Did the previous owner leave any garbage, extra furniture or unwanted items behind?

What To Do If You Spot A Problem?

If you find a problem when you are going through your walkthrough, there are a few options of what you can do. If the issue is very serious, you might choose to walk away from the deal completely. However, if the issue is not that significant you might decide that it is not worth losing your dream home over.

You could simply pay for the repair yourself, or postpone the closing until the seller fixes the problem. If the repair was agreed upon during the negotiations, you have a legal recourse.

If you’d like to work with a Realtor who oversees EVERY portion of the real estate transaction give Debra Obrock a call: (480) 688-2000 or send her an Email

 

Pass Your Home Inspection With Flying Colors

Home Inspection Home inspections are a tense time for everyone. Sellers are fervently hoping that nothing major is wrong with their home that could hold up the transaction.

Buyers are eager to hear that their new house is in prime condition. Whatever the wishes, one thing is for sure; any news from an inspector is usually bad news.

Home inspectors have a tough job. They have to be trained to spot hundreds of potential issues with a home and be knowledgeable of local codes, community restrictions and residential permit parameters.

Stay one step ahead of your home inspector by reading the list of common home inspection issues below. Then hopefully your inspection won’t reveal any unwelcome surprises.

Electrical Wiring

This is a common bubble-busting issue, especially in older homes. Wiring might have been up to code when the home was built, but it now violates code and is a fire hazard.

Look for ungrounded outlets, shoddy wiring or a mass of confusing connections in the electrical panel. Replacing an entire electrical system can be expensive, but it’s worth it not to risk a fire.

Plumbing

Look for signs of water damage in the ceilings. This could be a sign that something above, like a bathtub or sink is leaking into the floor or walls. Look around toilets and inside kitchen cabinets for traces of wet flooring or wood.

While external leaks are easy enough to fix, interior pipes might require you to rip up flooring.

Foundation And Framing

Examine the foundation and framing of your home for any structural issues. You’ll want to keep an eye out for cracking in the foundation due to water runoff or settling. Also, look for signs of wood rot or termite damage.

These issues affect the framing of your home and could cause scary structural problems if left unattended.

Roofing

While it’s probably too difficult for you to inspect the roof yourself, just stand back in the yard and see if you can notice any bare spots. Also, check for water damage around the roofline from rain leaking in. Don’t get too discouraged about roof issues. It might not call for a complete replacement, but just a repair on one section.

These common home inspection issues affect both sellers and buyers. As a buyer, you’ll want to keep a eye out for these problems so that you know what you’d be getting for your hard-earned money.

As a seller, it’s good to stay one step ahead of the home inspector so that whatever price is agreed upon goes through.

If you’d like to work with a Realtor who oversees EVERY portion of the real estate transaction
give Debra Obrock a call: (480) 688-2000 or send her an Email

 

Does An Interest-Only Mortgage Make Sense?

Interest-only mortgage What exactly does an “Interest-Only Mortgage” type of mortgage mean and how does it work?

Usually when you take out a loan, you must pay back the capital debt (the amount you borrowed) and the interest on that debt. An interest-only mortgage offers a cheaper option for purchasing a property, because you will only be making payments on the interest and not the capital.

Compared to a repayment style mortgage where you are paying down the principle of the loan, an interest-only mortgage will have much lower monthly payments.

However, when you reach the end of the mortgage term with an interest-only mortgage, you will not have paid off any of the original principle of the loan. This means that you will still not be any closer to owning the home than when you started, whereas with a repayment mortgage you would be in full possession of the property.

You will reach the end of the loan term, still owing the lender $250,000 or whatever the value of the house was. Also, if you do not pay off that lump sum at that point, the lender will charge you interest on the entire loan for the full time.

Best Scenario for Interest-Only Mortgage

From the description of how it works, it seems like there would never be a good situation for taking out an interest-only mortgage. However, if you are stretched financially and you are desperate to get onto the property ladder it might be a viable option. Some people take on an interest-only mortgage so that they can buy their first home, then when their income goes up they switch to a repayment mortgage.

These types of mortgages are often used by buy-to-let investors, who are able to claim their tax back against the mortgage interest. If this is your goal, you might find this strategy advantageous.

If you are qualified to purchase a home, contact a Realtor and start shopping now. And, if you’re shopping in the Metro Phoenix area, give me a call at 480 688-2000– I pick out great homes!

How To Beat Out Cash Buyers

 Cash BuyersMost of the time Cash Buyers are beating out those buyers who need to finance their home.  Here’s the scenario that happens all to often in this sellers market. You’ve been searching for the perfect home for quite a while, and finally, you’ve found it! You get all of your finances in order and place an offer on the house.

However, you’re not the only one that loves the home, because there are multiple offers — and one of them is cash.

Cash buyers are seen as desirable because they’re almost always a guaranteed quick close. They don’t have to borrow money from a bank therefore won’t have any financing hang-ups, which is where a large portion of offers fall through. Don’t worry; not all hope is lost.

Here are some tips on how to Beat out Cash Buyers

Less Expensive Homes

If you’ve put offers in on homes at the asking price and are continually beat out by buyers that are paying more, then you might want to consider looking in a lower price range. This is an especially smart strategy for those living in fast-selling markets. By looking at less expensive homes, you can be the one that puts in an offer over the asking price.

20 Percent Down Payment

Save up a higher down payment for the price range of homes you’re considering. If you can come up with 20 percent, then you’re in a position to wave the appraisal contingency for financing with the bank. The more you have in cash, the better.

As-Is Home Inspection

This means that based on the home inspection, you’ll take the property with all its issues, or you’ll walk away. What you won’t do is ask the seller to waste more of their time and money fixing every little problem that’s found.

Fees

Waive the seller concessions, such as closing costs and the home warranty, and pay your real estate broker’s fees. These extra costs add up in the mind of the seller and will show that you really want the property.

Going up against cash buyers can be extremely discouraging. But, just because they’re dealing in cash doesn’t mean they’ll get the property. Many investors think they can put in a low offer because they’re dealing in cash.

So show you’re serious about a property, follow the steps above and put in your best offer. You’ll be a homeowner soon enough!

If you’d like to work with a Realtor who oversees EVERY portion of the real estate transaction give Debra Obrock a call: 480 688-2000 or send her an Email

Great Advice For Young Real Estate Investors

 Young Real estate investorsHow young are young Real Estate Investors? How about Early 20’s? When you are in your early 20s, you are not likely thinking about investing in property and are probably focusing on other things.  However, investing in property at a young age can bring you a lot of advantages.  Investing in property at a young age seems like a bit of a daunting prospect sometimes. Most young people don’t have a lot of disposable income, often have poor credit and perhaps even student loans.

Real estate investing  requires a different approach and style and you might be the only one of your peers who is doing so, but you will definitely reap the benefits later on in life. When you invest long-term, you will start building your financial independence.

Some might believe that it is impossible for a young person to start investing so early in life, but investing in your 20’s is completely possible.

You are not “too busy”, in fact you will find that you have even less spare time as your responsibilities grow when you get older. You will need a little bit of money to get started, but often you can purchase your first property with as little as 3.5% down.

Here are 4 Great Tips for Young Real Estate Investors

  1. Get into very good saving habits from a young age by putting aside your money from first jobs. When you want to take out a mortgage, you will typically need to be able to show savings of 3% of your purchase price.
  2. Maintain a clean credit history and pay all of your bills on time in order to build a great credit rating, so that you can obtain a mortgage with a good rate.
  3. Make the most of technology and social media to learn more about investing in property and to find the best opportunities. You have a wealth of information on investing, all at your fingertips.
  4. Find an older mentor – someone with successful experience who can give you tips on how to choose the right investment.

Another main advantage to investing when you are young is that if anything goes wrong, you will have more time to make mistakes and still recover without affecting your retirement. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, so why not get started?

As an experienced Realtor who knows property values in the neighborhood Debra can help young real estate investors find the best deals and make the best offers on investment Real Estate.

Why That Extra Bedroom Might Be Worth It

Shopping For A HomeIf you are shopping for a home you may be wondering whether or not it is worth it to pay a little extra for a home with one more bedroom.

It’s a tough decision to make, especially when balancing other factors such as location and the other features of the home. However, having one more bedroom than you think you need could end up being a good thing for a number of reasons.

Expanding Family

Perhaps you only planned on having two children, but a third one might come along as an unplanned surprise… will you have enough room for everyone?

One of your children’s friends might have a bad home situation and need a place to crash for a while. One of your elderly parents might need to live with you for a while.

There are many situations when the family living under your roof might expand, (even if it’s just having guests over the weekend) so make sure that you have the space to accommodate.

A Home Office

If you are working from home or have your own business, a private space in the home to work can be worth its weight in gold. It’s really difficult to be productive when you are trying to work at the kitchen table with the rest of the family buzzing around you, so turn your extra bedroom into a home office.

Rental Income

An extra bedroom might be a great source of income, especially if it can be turned into a basement or attic suite. As long as you don’t mind the responsibility of being a landlord, you could rent out the room to a tenant and let their rent help you cover the mortgage payment.

Resale Value

Buying a slightly larger house with one more bedroom means that the home will be easier to sell in the future. This is especially true if all of the other homes in the area have similar amounts of bedrooms.

Guest Room

If you live in Arizona than it is very likely you will  have out of state relatives or friends who might come and visit you and you will probably want to be able to give them a place to sleep so that they don’t have to pay for a hotel.

These are just a few reasons why an extra room can really come in handy.

If you’d like to work with a Realtor who oversees
EVERY portion of the real estate transaction
give Debra Obrock a call: (480) 688-2000 or send her an Email

 

What Is Private Mortgage Insurance?

mortgage insurance If you are purchasing a home and have a down payment of 20% or less, the Lender will require you to have Private Mortgage Insurance.

Private Mortgage Insurance Defined

PMI is required by lenders if the down payment of a purchase is less than 20 percent of the home’s value. It protects the lender if the borrower defaults on the loan.

It also makes the lender more apt to loan, even if the down payment is as low as 3%, because in the long run, the lender’s investment is protected.

You Pay For It

Unlike other types of insurance which you pay to protect your interest in an asset, you pay Private Mortgage Insurance to the mortgage company to protect its interest in your new real estate. (Note that PMI is not usually tax deductible. Check with a tax professional for details.)

Make It Go Away: PMI Can Be Terminated Once You’ve Paid Down Your Loan

Once you pay down your mortgage to the point where it hits the magical 80% of the original purchase price or appraised value, whichever is less, you can request cancellation of PMI. The Homeowners Protection Act requires that loans made after 1999 include notifications to the borrower when you arrive at this point in your payments.

Your PMI payments must be automatically canceled once you pay down your loan to 78%. At closing, and on a yearly basis, you should receive information from your lender about when you can request cancellation.

Whether you’re ready to buy real estate or need more information before taking the plunge, I can help. Contact your trusted real estate professional today.

Buying a Home? Choose the Best Location

Choose Best LocationChoose the Best Location is probably the best advice you will receive when purchasing a home.   The area of the city where your home is located will have an impact on its future value as well as your lifestyle.

Location, Location, Location still holds true no matter where you are buying a home or in what price range.

How to Choose the Best Location

Proximity to Your Daily Needs

If you work downtown, living out in the suburbs means that you will be adding time for a commute onto your day.

While this might be worth the cheaper prices for properties out of the town center, it is something to consider when making your decision.

You will also need to consider whether the house is near shopping centers, schools, doctors, dentists and other services that you will need regularly.

Planned Developments

When you are choosing a neighborhood to buy in, do some research into what developments are planned in the future for that part of town.

For example, you might be able to get a cheap price on a home that is out of the way, but a new proposed highway leading straight into the town center that will be built in the next five years could increase property values considerably.

Overall Atmosphere

Take a walk around the neighborhood where you are considering buying and get a sense of the overall atmosphere. Are there a lot of families living there? Are there green places to relax? Are people friendly and saying hello to you?

You want to live in a place where you feel welcome and comfortable.

Property Values

Different neighborhoods will have a range of house prices and you will want to look for something with the right balance of value.

Some areas of town will be very expensive but very nice; other areas will have cheap house prices but might not be as pleasant to live in. Take the time to find the neighborhood that is in the middle, where you will find the right house, and neighborhood, at a good price.

These are just a few of the factors to consider so that you can choose the right neighborhood to buy in.

With over 25 years of selling homes in Metro Phoenix,
Debra Obrock knows all about the value of location.
Give her a call for the best advice: (480) 688-2000