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Posted by CENTURY 21 Annex Realty on 9/20/2019

Buying a home is a process that can seem daunting and even a little scary to most first-time buyers. After all, being a homeowner is a huge financial and personal responsibility.

To make this lengthy process a bit more approachable, weíre going to break it down into five steps. While these five steps may be somewhat different for each person, depending on their own unique situation, they do comprise most home buyerís experience.

If youíre interested in learning the steps youíll need to take before owning your first home, read on.

Step 1: Know your long-term goals

Before you buy a home, youíll want to have a clear understanding of what you, your spouse, and your family want from the next five or more years. Youíll want to make sure the area youíre moving to can provide things like career advancement and opportunity, good schools for your children, and so on.

These questions may seem obvious, but itís an important conversation to have before making the long-term commitment of owning a home.

Step 2: Your budget and your needs

It might be tempting to hop online and start shopping for houses, but first you should get a clear idea of the size and cost of the house youíre looking for. This involves determining your budget, thinking about your credit and planning for your down payment.

Step 3: Mortgage pre-approval

Getting preapproved for a mortgage can be a great way to gauge the interest late and loan amount youíll be approved for. Youíll need to gather paperwork, including income information (pay stubs), tax returns, and W-2 forms.

Be aware that lenders will run a detailed credit report. Since credit reports count as an inquiry, they can temporarily lower your credit score by a few points.

Applying to several lenders within a short period of time can make a significant impact on your score. However, it will start to rise again within a few months if you donít open any new credit accounts or take out other loans.

Step 4: Get an agent

Real estate agents know the ins and outs of the home buying process better than anyone else. Theyíll be able to guide you through the process and provide you with information that you canít get anywhere else.

Step 5: Pick the right home for you

Now itís time to start home shopping. However, before you begin, remember that getting approved for a loan doesnít mean you must or should seek to spend the full amount on a home.

Plan for your needs, and keep the future in mind. Someday you might decide to upgrade, but in the meantime you can be building your credit and building equity in a smaller or more frugal home.





Posted by CENTURY 21 Annex Realty on 12/21/2018

If youíre in the market to buy a home soon, you probably have a long list of things to look for. You also are most likely focused on savings and shopping around for the best mortgage rates. You may know everything that you should do when youíre buying a home, but has anyone told you what you shouldnít do? Read on to discover some of the worst practices of people searching for a home. 


Lack Of Research


You need to search for a home before you even set out to look at properties in person. While youíll want to work with a realtor, you should know what you want before you start working with him. Your agent will be able to set up alerts for you that enable you to see properties put on the market as soon as they become available. This search will be tailored to your wants such as a large yard, master bathroom, or separate dining area. If you understand what your needs will cost you in relation to your budget ahead of time, working with a real estate agent will be a more fruitful experience.


Not Letting Your Real Estate Agent Do Their Job


Real estate agents are experts in the housing market. Your agent will research prices and help you to understand what a reasonable offer on a property will be. Your agent has the tools to get you the information you need to make an informed offer on a property. Sellers get insulted if an offer is well below the asking price. Trust that your agent knows what heís talking about. 


Youíll have a close relationship with your agent throughout the house hunting process. Youíll need to make arrangements with your agent to go to open houses and home showings. Your agent will accommodate you to the best of his ability. All you need to do is communicate with them. 


Not Looking Beyond The Online Search


If you are out and about and see a property for sale that interests you, donít assume that itís out of your reach. Sometimes the online searches miss things. A property may include (or not include) something that youíre looking for. You can take down the address where you saw the ďfor saleĒ sign and speak with your real estate agent about it.


Skimming Over Properties


When you have the opportunity to look at a property, really take the time to view it. You can miss a lot of details by quickly going over a property due to your first impression. Thereís a lot of things that you may not see if you donít look at the details of a home as you walk through it.       





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Posted by CENTURY 21 Annex Realty on 8/31/2018

Unmarried couples often find themselves surprised at the additional steps it takes to buy a home compared to their wedded friends.

This guide will help you prepare for buying a home together as an unmarried couple:

Banks will assess you differently than they would a married couple.

Whereas they look at a married couple as a single financial unit, you and your partner will be assessed individually. This certainly has its proís and conís. Know that if one partner has a significantly lower credit score it can affect your eligibility for a loan as a couple.  

Legal ownership of the title will be different.

Unmarried couples have three options when it comes to title ownership: sole ownership, joint tenants and tenants in common.

Tenants in common is the most popular. The difference between tenants in common and joint tenants is this:

  • In a joint tenancy ownership is 50/50. If one partner were to become deceased, ownership of their half of the property would carry over to the other partner.

  • Tenants in common ownership can be disproportionate to reflect each partners level of investment.  If one partner were to become deceased, their living trust would inherit ownership of their portion of the property if another option is not otherwise specified in their will.

  • Sole ownership is just that. One partner owns full legal ownership of the property. This option can have tax benefits and increase your financing eligibility if one partner has a higher income or better credit score than the other.

Itís highly recommended for unmarried couples to sign a property, partnership or cohabitation agreement when buying a home together. This is a legal precaution to safeguard both partners in the future should anything happen.

If your finances are separate it is ideal to at the very least create a joint checking account from which to draw the down payment and mortgage installments. This is especially true if both partners are contributing to these payments. It create a clean, clearcut payment process each month.

Know each other's finances.

Discuss your credit scores, debt burden, savings, investments and financial goals. Get clear on where you each stand and how these factors will influence your buying process. Create a budget together as a couple to ensure you can take on not just the responsibility of a mortgage payment but also closing costs, homeowners insurance, property taxes and maintenance costs. Plan for savings like retirement, nest egg, family planning, future vacations, and emergency funds.

Buying a home together as an unmarried couple is a different process than that of married couples. However, that doesnít mean it has to be harder. With an understanding of what to expect ahead of time and a plan in place, the process can be a smooth one.








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