At a glance, buying a home seems like a daunting and complicated process. If it’s your first time buying a home you’re probably hearing a lot of terms that don’t mean much to you like “rate commitment,” “prequalify,” and an array of acronyms that no one has ever really explained like APR and ARM.

What many first time homebuyers don’t realize is that the mortgage application process is relatively straightforward. It’s a way for lenders to determine if they will lend money to the homebuyer.

The lender will require some documentation on your part and you’ll want to do your homework when it comes to choosing the right mortgage for you, but if you’re confused about where to begin, here’s everything you need to know about the home mortgage application process.

Gather your documents

Each lender will be slightly different when it comes to what records and documents they require from you. In general, lenders will require two years of work history, proof of income, and tax papers. They will also ask for your permission to run a credit check. Some things you should bring when applying for a mortgage include:

  • Your most recent pay stubs (at least two)
  • Your most recent W-2 forms
  • Completed tax returns
  • Bank statements
  • Gift letters
  • Debt – credit cards, student loans, etc.

Filling out the application

The actual application for the mortgage is pretty simple. Be expected to provide your personal and marital information, as well as your social security number.

When you apply for a loan you’ll also be determining if you’re applying singly or with another person, such as a spouse. Some people apply jointly to seek a higher loan amount. However, you should be aware that if this is your plan of action the lender will require income and credit information from both of you. Keep in mind that it isn’t easy to remove one person from a home loan once the contract is signed, so you should make certain of this decision before applying jointly.

Locked-in interest rates

It won’t come as a surprise to you that, like in other industries, interest rates on mortgages fluctuate. For this reason, many home buyers attempt to “lock-in” their interest rate, meaning the lender is no longer allowed to change the interest rate after signing. The benefit of locking in your interest is that it can avoid having your interest rate raised before you sign on the home. The disadvantage is that since rates fluctuate, you could miss out on a lower one.

This is also the difference between APR (annual percentage rating) and ARM (adjustable rate mortgage). With an APR, the cost of borrowing money (interest) is fixed. For an ARM, the interest rate can increase, decrease, or stay the same at different points in the repayment process.

Refinancing

Your financial situation is bound to fluctuate throughout your life, hopefully for the better. At some point down the road, it might make sense to refinance on your mortgage. Essentially this means you are agreeing to change the details of the mortgage to either accept a different interest rate or to alter the length of the loan term. Refinancing usually involves fees, however, so you don’t want to rely on it too heavily as a fallback.

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Want to add your house to the real estate market? If you’re operating in a seller’s market, you may be able to generate plenty of interest in your house as soon as your residence becomes available.

A seller’s market commonly features an abundance of homebuyers and a shortage of home sellers. As such, a home seller who lists a high-quality residence in a seller’s market could earn a significant profit.

Operating in a seller’s market offers many opportunities for home sellers who prepare accordingly. Lucky for you, we’re here to ensure you can get the best price for your residence in a seller’s market.

Now, let’s take a look at three tips to help you optimize the value of your house in a seller’s market.

1. Complete a Home Appraisal

A home appraisal will help you understand your house’s strengths and weaknesses. That way, you can perform any home improvement projects before you list your residence. You may be able to boost your chances of a quick property sale too.

Typically, a home appraisal requires just a few hours to complete. A home appraiser will visit your residence and inspect it both inside and out. Then, this appraiser will provide you with a report that details your home’s condition.

Review the results of a home appraisal report closely. By doing so, you can prioritize various home improvements and work toward transforming your ordinary residence into one that will stand out in a seller’s market.

2. Analyze the Housing Market

How does your residence stack up against comparable houses that are currently available? Examine the housing market to find out.

Evaluate the prices of houses that are similar to your own. This may help you establish a realistic price range for your residence.

Also, look at how long recently sold properties were available before they were purchased. This may help you understand how long it might take for you to get the best price for your residence in a seller’s market.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to selling a home, there is no reason to embark on the property selling journey on your own. Thankfully, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market experts are happy to assist you in any way they can.

A real estate agent can provide details about what to expect before you add your residence to a seller’s market. He or she will help you plan ahead and ensure your residence features an awe-inspiring exterior and flawless interior that differentiate your property from others.

Moreover, a real estate agent will help you alleviate stress throughout the home selling journey. This housing market professional can respond to your home selling concerns and questions and provide plenty of guidance to help you make informed decisions.

There is no need to leave anything to chance when you list your home in a seller’s market. Instead, take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble stirring up interest in your house.

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