Saturday, October 31, 2015

How Millennials Can "Snag" a First Home

Photo: Millennials "Hanging Out" from

Only about 2% of the millennial generation (those born between 1981 and 2000) are in a position to buy their own homes and condos. Most face a host of financial hardships and challenges. But if you look past worries and fears, you'll find sources of potential.

According to an article written by Jonathan Smoke (a chief economist at, below are four areas of concern and strategies to offset them:

1) You are worried about debt, especially student loan debt
Debt can interfere with home-buying prospects. In order to qualify for a mortgage, you need a debt-to-income ratio (or DTI) of no more than 43%. A hefty student loan balance could easily disqualify you. Therefore, try to limit your total debt payments (student and auto loans, credit cards, etc.) to less than 15% of your income. Try to avoid racking up new debt, and look at buying more affordable homes. Also, when casting your vote in the next election, aim to select a leader who presents a plan to help lower payments.

2) You are worried about your credit score
Here are some interesting statistics: In 2015, the average FICO score for a millennial with a mortgage is 714. The average FICO for all Americans is 695. And the average FICO for a millennial with an FHA mortgage is 682.

A score of 750 will bring you the best rates, while a score of 650 lowers the odds of getting approved for a mortgage. Therefore, work to get your traditional credit score as high as you can. This will ultimately benefit you when buying.

3) You have no savings for a down payment
Keep in mind that you don't need to put 20% down on a property. In 2015, the average millennial has put down as little as 7% to finance a home. The more you put down, the better the rate. But don't be afraid to put down as little as 3% (0% if you are a veteran) and also look into the availability of local down-payment assistance programs.

4) You are angry and worried about ever-increasing rents
Rents are sky-high. The majority of renters in the US now have to spend more than 30% of their income to rent a typical home. Renting is also counterproductive to growing your savings and building a credit history. Therefore, consider making sacrifices now for the long term—join forces with other millennials and take on roommates, live in smaller places and if need be, spend a season moving back with your mom and dad. Aim to save money until you can afford to buy. The tide will turn!

To read more and access the entire article link HERE

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Autumn is the perfect time to buy a home

House: Rick Martinez / iStock  ~ Sign: BDNZ / iStock
The fall is the perfect time to sign a contract to buy a home. Here are three reasons why:

1) More Choices: Surveys conducted by show that in 2015, listing inventories have been steadily growing and this fall, property inventory stats are at an all-time high. Take your pick!

2) Lower Prices, Less Competition: Once school starts, demand for home purchases always declines. But this decline also means prices come down, and there is less competition.

3) Low Mortgage Rates: The recent turbulence of the stock market has lowered mortgage rates. Signing a contract to buy a home now will enable you to lock in at a lower rate before those rates rise again.

To read more, link to this article written by Jonathan Smoke at

Don't wait! If you've been looking all year to buy a new property, now is the perfect time. Act soon, and you can easily have a closing before Thanksgiving! 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Six Common Real Estate Mistakes

Buying and selling real estate in the market today is certainly NOT for sissies! The competition is steep, and the stakes are high. Making small mistakes can end up costing you thousands of dollars.

Be on the look-out for issues, such as:

1) Not Getting the Price Right: Your first line of defense is to hire a home appraiser who can accurately gauge the worth of a property. This service might cost you a few hundred dollars, but it is an investment that can, in the long run, save you money.

2) Overlooking "Pretty Is As Pretty Does"Tidy things up! Before you put a property on the market, be sure that everything is well-tended and looking its picture-perfect best.

3) Hiding Problems from the BuyerBe up front from the get-go. Disclose any problems—in writing—so there will be no cause for dispute or litigation after the sale goes through.
4) Wrecking Your Credit at the Last MinuteHome buying and selling doesn't happen overnight. Be mindful of other purchases made during the process, such as buying a new car or missing credit card payments. Remember a pre-approval does not guarantee a finalized mortgage.
5) The Trap of Bidding WarsBuying property can be an emotional process. Therefore, make sure you have an experienced agent in your corner who can advocate and negotiate the best deal on your behalf.
6) Not Taking the Inspection SeriouslyMany buyers and sellers don't put enough credence in this step of the process. Take advantage of the home inspection and leverage the results to drive the price in your favor.
In the end, be mindful and proactive. Knowledge is power! To read more about each factor listed above, link HERE

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Home Repair for Buyers

Once a home inspection is completed, buyers usually receive a list of suggested improvements and repairs. Most issues outlined will be for upgrades, while others may be more specific and recommended to ensure peace of mind and comfort. 

Repairs of some kind will always be necessary - on new construction and older construction, as well. Keep in mind, however, that it is unlikely a seller will repair the tens (or hundreds) of line items often outlined on the home inspection report. Buyers need to maintain reasonable expections.  

Link HERE to read a comprehensive article that offers some great tips on home repair requests and how to leverage those repairs to benefit your home buying purchase.