Buying a Home? Do You Know the Lingo?

Buying a Home? Do You Know the Lingo?

for sale by owner

Bellingham Homes for sale

Buying a home can be intimidating if you are not familiar with the terms used during the process. To start you on your path with confidence, we have compiled a list of some of the most common terms used when buying a home.

Freddie Mac has compiled a more exhaustive glossary of terms in their “My Home” section of their website.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) – This is a broader measure of your cost for borrowing money. The APR includes the interest rate, points, broker fees and certain other credit charges a borrower is required to pay. Because these costs are rolled in, the APR is usually higher than your interest rate.

Appraisal – A professional analysis used to estimate the value of the property. This includes examples of sales of similar properties. This is a necessary step in getting your financing secured as it validates the home’s worth to you and your lender.

Closing Costs – The costs to complete the real estate transaction. These costs are in addition to the price of the home and are paid at closing. They include points, taxes, title insurance, financing costs, items that must be prepaid or escrowed and other costs. Ask your lender for a complete list of closing cost items.

Credit Score – A number ranging from 300-850, that is based on an analysis of your credit history. Your credit score plays a significant role when securing a mortgage as it helps lenders determine the likelihood that you’ll repay future debts. The higher your score, the better, but many buyers believe they need at least a 780 score to qualify when, in actuality, over 55% of approved loans had a score below 750.

Discount Points – A point equals 1% of your loan (1 point on a $200,000 loan = $2,000). You can pay points to buy down your mortgage interest rate. It’s essentially an upfront interest payment to lock in a lower rate for your mortgage.

Down Payment – This is a portion of the cost of your home that you pay upfront to secure the purchase of the property. Down payments are typically 3 to 20% of the purchase price of the home. There are zero-down programs available through VA loans for Veterans, as well as USDA loans for rural areas of the country. Eighty percent of first-time buyers put less than 20% down last month.

Escrow – The holding of money or documents by a neutral third party before closing. It can also be an account held by the lender (or servicer) into which a homeowner pays money for taxes and insurance.

Fixed-Rate Mortgages – A mortgage with an interest rate that does not change for the entire term of the loan. Fixed-rate mortgages are typically 15 or 30 years.

Home Inspection – A professional inspection of a home to determine the condition of the property. The inspection should include an evaluation of the plumbing, heating and cooling systems, roof, wiring, foundation and pest infestation.

Mortgage Rate – The interest rate you pay to borrow money to buy your house. The lower the rate, the better. Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage have hovered between 4 and 4.25% for most of 2017.

Pre-Approval Letter – A letter from a mortgage lender indicating that you qualify for a mortgage of a specific amount. It also shows a home seller that you’re a serious buyer. Having a pre-approval letter in hand while shopping for homes can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.

Primary Mortgage Insurance (PMI) – If you make a down payment lower than 20% on your conventional loan, your lender will require PMI, typically at a rate of .51%. PMI serves as an added insurance policy that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage and can be cancelled from your payment once you reach 20% equity in your home. For more information on how PMI can impact your monthly housing cost, click here.

Real Estate Professional – An individual who provides services in buying and selling homes. Real estate professionals are there to help you through the confusing paperwork, to help you find your dream home, to negotiate any of the details that come up, and to help make sure that you know exactly what’s going on in the housing market. Real estate professionals can refer you to local lenders or mortgage brokers along with other specialists that you will need throughout the home-buying process.
The best way to ensure that your home-buying process is a confident one is to find a real estate professional who will guide you through every aspect of the transaction with ‘the heart of a teacher,’ and who puts your family’s needs first.

Record Low Inventory in Bellingham and Whatcom County!

You’ve heard all the talk about the houisng market. I wanted to show you what it looks like. The housing inventory is at a level not previously seen. With only 1.9 months of supply in Bellingham, homes are selling in 24 hours or less.

If you are thinking of selling your home, give me a call! As the top agent in social media in Washington I can get your home MAXIMUM exposure!

Thinking of Selling? Why Now is the Time

It is common knowledge that a large number of homes sell during the spring-buying season. For that reason, many homeowners hold off on putting their homes on the market until then. The question is whether or not that will be a good strategy this year.

Read more here: https://goo.gl/H977xO

Is this the year you sell your home? Call me for my FREE home selling consultation and let me show you how I leverage social media to get you the most exposure!

Fawn Island in Beautiful Deer Harbor, Washington. Offered at $3.48M

Winter 2016/2017 Home Selling Guide

Thinking of Selling? Don’t Overlook an Outdated Kitchen, Buyers Won’t

If you are planning on listing your home for sale, make sure that you don’t overlook the condition of your kitchen. A recent article on realtor.com listed “7 Signs Your Kitchen Is Way Overdue for a Renovation,” in which they warned:

“Dated kitchens—just like bathrooms—are a major barrier for resale. Buyers want modern amenities and styling, and most aren’t interested in renovating post-purchase.”

Kitchen remodels can be pricey, with many complete remodels costing $20,000 or more. But not every kitchen needs a full remodel. There are many smaller projects that will help buyers see themselves trying their favorite Pinterest recipe in your home!

Here are a couple of project ideas that, if you’re handy or know someone who is, could end up boosting your home’s value without breaking the bank:

Are the cabinets in good shape but need an update? A new coat of paint and some updated hardware will instantly freshen up the space and drastically change the feel of the room all for under $300.
A new backsplash to match the freshly painted cabinets updates the space and adds some style while staying under $200, depending on the size of the room.
If the kitchen seems dark, consider adding LED under cabinet lighting for around $40.
If replacing the countertops in the kitchen isn’t within your budget, consider using a top coat to cover the current countertops.

If you decide to complete a full remodel of your outdated kitchen, you can expect a 67% return on a $30,000 upgrade (the national median cost). The benefits of a kitchen remodel aren’t purely financial, according to Houselogic:

“Eighty-two percent of homeowners said their updated kitchen gave them a greater desire to be at home, and 95% were happy or satisfied with the result.”

Bottom Line

Kitchens and bathrooms are often make or break for buyers when touring a home or searching through photo galleries online. Let’s get together to identify which small projects could pay off big!

Beautiful fall morning to check out the newest listings around #Bellingham and Whatcom county!

Fall may be in full swing but the housing market is still cooking right along! Check out the newest listings this week around Bellingham, Ferndale, and the rest of Whatcom county!
Thinking of selling your home? Get my free home selling guide and get your home sold before Thanksgiving!
See the new listings here:
15twin The-Whos-Who-of-the-Real-Estate-Industry-to-Follow-on-Twitter-682x1024

Jack Otto eXp Realty

Jack Otto eXp Realty

 

7 Simple Home Remodeling Strategies for the Easily Overwhelmed

“Which stresses you out more? The mere thought of adding a bathroom (so many contractors, so many unknowns, and you’re too busy already!) or fighting for Monday-morning mirror time for all eternity?

If it feels like a toss-up, you’re not alone. Remodeling can be overwhelming. With so much going on in your life already, it just feels easier to deal with a home that’s not quite right than to get swamped with one more gargantuan thing, right?

Wrong! A remodel doesn’t haveto be so all-consuming. With a few stress-sparing strategies, it’s totally doable — and totally worth it. Use these tips, and you’ll never have to step on your toddler’s rubber duckies while showering again.”

 

Check out the top tips from Houselogic.com 7 Simple Home Remodeling Strategies for the Easily Overwhelmed

 

houselogiv

Five Local Ways to Turn Over a New Leaf in 2016

Here is a great article about 5 local ways to turn over a new leaf in 2016.

http://www.whatcomtalk.com/2016/01/04/bellingham-new-years-resolutions/

bellinham, washington

via @WhatcomTalk

Free Winter Home Selling Guide

Even if you aren’t selling until the Spring, this guide will get you started. Best part it’s for free! Just email me at Jack.otto@exprealty.com for the file. Or follow this link!

http://issuu.com/jackottorealtor/docs/sellingyourhousewinter2015

Home Selling guide

Home selling guide