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Home Buyer Tips - Worth The Read!

by Sherrie Toth

How to Buy a Home: 7 Tips and Tricks from Real Estate Insiders

No matter if you’re in a buyer’s or seller’s market, there are a few critical steps you can take to make a smarter purchase. Since buying a home is likely the biggest single investment you will ever make, being prepared will help you make a better purchase. Here are our best tips to buying a home.

Know your buying power

What is your buying power? It is the combination of your credit-worthiness and how much you can realistically pay for a home.

First, you need to understand the hidden costs of buying a home. You will need to save not only for the down payment of your home -- which is typically between 10% - 20% of the offer price -- but also for any additional transaction fees, such as transfer tax, PMI, title insurance, and legal fees.

Then you need to know what you can realistically afford each month to understand how much house you can buy. Your mortgage rate will depend on your creditworthiness -- if you have a high credit score, your lender will likely approve you for a lower mortgage rate, which can save you thousands of dollars per year in interest.

How much of your budget should go to your monthly home costs? According to SmartAssets, you can use the 36% rule as a rough guideline. This means that your monthly obligation shouldn’t be more than 36% of your monthly gross income.

A loan professional can help you figure out how much house you can afford. Contact Toth and Team for our awesome Mortgage Loan Officer Referrals.

Fix your credit with the help of a loan professional

According to CreditKarma, a good credit score is usually 720 or above. You want to clean up your credit as soon as you can, and definitely before you go to a lender for a loan preapproval.

When you apply for your loan pre-approval, you don’t want to have anything to hide on your application. So don’t lower your credit score by doing anything that will originate more inquiries into your credit. For example, don’t open any new credit cards. Also, don’t omit any debts or loans when you apply. If the loan officer discovers them in the application process, they may deny you a pre-approval.

Get a loan professional to check your credit score for you. A professional can give you a clearer idea if your score is in the ‘good’ range, or if you need to do some credit cleanup before getting a mortgage preapproval.

Work with a knowledgeable Real Estate Agent, Like Joe & Sherrie Toth or one of their Buyers agents. 

Do you understand what kind of market you are buying into? Even within a city’s limits, there can be micro markets that are increasing or decreasing in value.

That’s why it’s important to hire a highly competent real estate agent who knows the specific market. You want to make sure that the professional who you’re working with really understands what the market is like and will help you find the home that you desire. Choose Local. Someone that doesn’t have to come across town or counties to help you in the area you are looking in.

How can you tell if your agent knows the market? See if they can provide you with a buyer’s market analysis. Ask them about the area and some details only a local would know. Or, simply ask them where THEY live. Is it in the area you are looking?

A buyer’s market analysis report outlines which neighborhoods are still up and coming -- with potential for increased property value -- versus those that have peaked with inflated home prices. Having this analysis at your fingertips will help you know if a home’s list price is above comparable properties so you don’t overpay for a home.

Don’t try to time the market...

Even in a hot market, there’s never a perfect time to buy a home. It can take a while to know exactly what you like, and you may have to look at 10 or more homes before you can recognize what suits your lifestyle best. While you’re shopping, take photos of your favorite properties and the details that you liked the best so that you can remember what you liked.

Another good reason to slow down the buying process: you might find a better deal if you do. Investigate expired listings. Expired listings may have gone off the market because they didn’t get any offers at the listed price, so you may be able to underbid the original listing price. It’s not likely worth your time to look at FSBO (for sale by owner) listings, though. Since they are not represented by a professional, they are often overpriced.

When you start shopping, have a one-hour initial consultation with your realtor. Give them every single detail that you know about your lifestyle, buying power, needs, wants and desires for your home. The more detail you can provide, the easier it will be for them to help you find your future home. Your agent may also know of exclusive listings not available to the general public.

… But make the offer as soon as you find the right home

If you love it, make the offer. Otherwise, that dream home may disappear faster than you think, especially if you’re buying in a hot market. The Apple Valley Lake market is HOT!

Your buying agent should contact the listing agent before you submit an offer so that they can decide what’s important to include in the offer. If you’re serious about it, you want to increase the chances that your offer is accepted.

Show that you’re serious about the purchase by creating a buyer’s offer packet. It should include your lender’s preapproval letter, a screenshot of your down payment money in your bank account, and comps that support the rationalization of the offer you are presenting.

Get a home inspection

Once you’re in the negotiation process, it’s essential that you get a third-party inspector to run a thorough home inspection. The inspector will be looking for major structural issues, including problems with the foundation, plumbing, and electrical systems. Your inspector should be extra picky, pointing out the most minor faults.

Make sure to have the inspection conducted before it is too late to back out of a deal. If there are any major structural issues, you may be able to make the seller repair them as a contingency to solidifying your offer. Minor issues that you can repair on your own may be points for negotiating a lower offer.

Protect your credit before you close

Don’t raise any red flags with your creditworthiness in the weeks before closing. Any one of these moves could mean that you’re denied the loan and the deal falls through -- even if you’ve already been preapproved!

 

●Keep your spending to a minimum and don’t make any major purchases before closing -- that includes buying furniture, or a car, truck, or van, or any excessive charges on your credit card.

 

●Keep your bank accounts stable. Don’t change banks, spend any of the money you have set aside for closing, or make any large deposits to your accounts without checking with your loan officer first.

 

●Keep your employment situation stable -- do not change jobs, quit your job, or become self-employed. Any sudden change in your income can have that preapproval offer rescinded.

 

●Do not cosign a loan for anyone. It will open an inquiry into your credit and add to your debt, which could raise your mortgage rate and cost you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.

 

Looking for a home in our area? Let us help you find the home of your dreams. We’re well versed in the our local real estate market in Apple Valley Lake and The Knox County area!

 

RE/MAX Consultant Group

Toth and Team

Joe & Sherrie Toth

844-411-5253

 

[email protected]

www.AppleValleyLakeOhio.com

www.applevalleylakeohio.com

 

 

Knox County

by Sherrie Toth

Knox County, located in the heart of Ohio, is home to about 60,000 residents. This peaceful, small-town region features beautiful, rolling scenery, historical attractions, tranquil biking and walking paths and many local parks. There are several communities in Knox County, including Mount Vernon, Apple Valley, Gambier and Fredericktown.

 Mount Vernon is the county seat and largest city. The downtown area has undergone extensive renovation in recent years and now features many different attractions, such as the Woodward Opera House, which opened in 1851 and is currently being restored, and the Schnormeier Art Gallery operated by Mount Vernon Nazarene University. There’s also an annual Christmas parade and First Friday celebrations every year from May to October with art, shopping and activities for children. A new 250-acre green space, Ariel-Foundation Park, is scheduled for completion in 2015 and features woods, lakes, biking and walking trails and spots to hold picnics.

 Apple Valley Lake, located near the unincorporated community of Howard just a few miles from Mount Vernon, is the center of a master-planned resort community. Residents can take their boats out onto the lake for relaxation, and, if they wish, to go fishing. The lake is the home of a diverse array of fish species, including both large- and small-mouth bass, catfish, crappie and others.

 The village of Gambier is fairly small, but it serves as a major intellectual center of the region. Gambier is perhaps best known as the home of Kenyon College, the oldest private college in the state of Ohio and one of the top 50 liberal arts colleges in the United States, according to U.S. News and World Report. Kenyon’s presence brings major cultural and sporting events to Knox County. The college and the village are bisected by a path known as the “Middle Path,” which takes walkers past some beautiful historical buildings.

 Fredericktown is another small village with lots of culture. This one-time frontier town features a museum that houses many items of historical importance from Fredericktown and the surrounding area. Also, the Fredericktown Recreation District Education and Nature Center is a 57-acre nature preserve with 2 miles of walking trails and many different animals, flowers and trees to observe. The Tomato Show and the Christmas Walk are two of the major annual events observed by residents of Fredericktown.

 Despite the bucolic beauty and small-town charm that can be found throughout Knox County, those who live here aren’t far from major population centers: Columbus and Cleveland are both less than two hours away by car. This makes it the perfect location for those who want to experience living in a small town without feeling too isolated from the outside world. With its rich history, its scenic beauty and its strong sense of community, Knox County is a great place to settle down and raise a family.

Looking to Buy or Sell in Knox County, Call Toth & Team to get started.

RE/MAX Consultant Group
Joe & Sherrie Toth – Team Leaders
844-411-5253
740-390-0735
www.AppleValleyLakeOhio.com
www.applevalleyliving.com

 

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Photo of Toth & Team Real Estate
Toth & Team
RE/MAX Consultant Group - at the lake
22021 Coshocton Road Suite A
Howard OH 43028
Sherrie’s Mobile: 740-390-0735
Joe’s Mobile: 330-388-6293
Fax: 800-707-3176

Apple Valley Lake Team | 844-411-5253