Hints For Buying Your Dream Home

  1. Start with your credit.Credit reports are kept by the three major credit agencies, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.  A low credit score may hurt your chances for getting the best interest rate, or getting financing at all. So get a copy of your reports and know your credit scores.   Applying for credit, even if you don’t use it can also hurt your score, so try not to apply for any additional credit for at least 6 months before purchasing a home.  Be sure to address any errors on your credit report and document any efforts that you have made to correct those errors as a mortgage officer will want that paperwork.
  1. Set your budget. Next, you need to determine how much house you can afford. Meet with a Mortgage broker or a loan officer to be pre-approved by a lender. They will look at your income, debt, and credit to determine the kind of loan and what type of payment you can afford.  The size of your down payment will also determine how much you can afford.
  1. Save your pennies.You’ll need to come up with cash for your down payment and closing costs. Lenders usually like to see a minimum 20% of the home’s price as a down payment. If you can put down more than that, the lender may be willing to approve a larger loan or provide you with a better interest rate.  If you have less, there are various private and public agencies — including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Administration and the and the Department of Veterans Affairs that will provide low down payment mortgages through banks and mortgage companies. If you qualify, it’s possible to pay as little as 3% up front.  Once you’ve considered the down payment, make sure you’ve got enough to cover fees and closing costs. These may include the appraisal fee, loan fees, attorney’s fees, inspection fees, and the cost of a title search. They can easily add up to $5,000 to $10,000 — and often run to 5% of the mortgage amount.
  1. Find an agent: Most sellers will list their homes for sale through an agent.  But be aware that those agents work for the seller, not you. You need a buyer’s agent.   Get in touch with a Real Estate Agent that you are comfortable with and that can help you find the home that is best for your personal situation.  A buyer’s agent has the same access to homes for sale that a seller’s agent does, but their loyalty lays with you, not the seller.
  1. Search for a home. Your first step here is to figure out what city or neighborhood you want to live in. Try also to get an idea about the real estate market in the area. For example, if homes are selling close to or even above the asking price, that indicates a desirable area.  Consider house hunting in the off-season or during the colder months of the year. You’ll have less competition and sellers may be more willing to negotiate
  1. Make an offer. Once you find the house you want, it is time to make your bid. When working with a buyer’s broker, get advice from him or her on an initial offer. Try to line up comparable data on at least three houses that have sold recently in the area.  If you really want the house, don’t lowball the offer.   The seller may give up in disgust. Remember, that your leverage depends on the pace of the market. In a slow market, you’ve got muscle; in a hot market, you may have none at all.  Once you reach an agreed upon price, the seller’s agent will draw up an offer to purchase that includes an estimated closing date (usually 45 to 60 days from acceptance of the offer
  1. Enter contract. Have your buyer’s agent review this document to make sure the deal is contingent upon:
    1. your obtaining a mortgage
    2. a home inspection that shows no significant defects
    3. a guarantee that you may conduct a walk-through inspection 24 hours before closing.

You also need to make a good-faith deposit — usually 1% to 10% of the purchase price — that should be deposited        into an escrow account. The seller will receive this money after the deal has closed. If the deal falls through, you          will get the money back only if you or the home failed any of the contingency clauses.

  1. Secure a loan.Now call your mortgage broker or lender and submit your formal mortgage application.  Be sure to include the information from your preapproval as you want the process to be as streamlined as possible.
  1. Get an inspection: In addition to the appraisal that the mortgage lender will make of your home, you should hire your own home inspector. An inspection costs about $300, on average, and could cost up to $1,000.  Be sure that you ask to be there during the inspection.  This will allow you to learn a lot about your house.   If the inspector turns up major problems, like a roof that needs to be replaced, then ask your buyer’s agent to discuss it with the seller.  You will either want the seller to fix the problem before you move in, or deduct the cost of the repair from the final price. If the seller won’t agree to either remedy you may decide to walk away from the deal, which you can do without penalty as long as you have that contingency written into the contract.
  1. Close the deal. About two days before the actual closing, you will receive a final HUD Settlement Statement from your lender that lists all the charges you can expect to pay at closing. Review it carefully as it will detail all of the closing costs you will be required to pay at the closing.  It should also detail all expenses that you have already paid including inspections, application fees etc.  The actual closing is somewhat anticlimactic, but your buyer’s agent can brief you on the particulars.

Let your local Realtor at Thomas D. Brown Real Estate help you find and buy your dream home!

Information gathered from http://money.cnn.com/pf/money-essentials-home-buying/

First Time Home Buyer Hints

You have been saving for a long time, you are tired of renting.  It is time to buy your first home!  This can be a very exciting time as well as a scary time especially when it comes to financing this purchase.  We wanted to share one of the options available for first time home buyers.

Being a first time home buyer has it’s benefits when it comes to financing. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has loans tailored specifically to you! Lower down payments and lower closing costs help newbies make the jump into home ownership.

With a FHA first time home buyer loan you can get interest rates as low as 3.5%, which can really save money on the life of your loan and keep your monthly payments lower. Your down payment is also lower than a traditional mortgage; instead of putting 20% down, you can put as low as 3.5% down if you qualify. While a lower down payment will increase your monthly payment (since you are taking a loan out for more money), it will help with the burden of needing a large amount of money up front.

With FHA loans you can also include most of the closing costs and fees into the loan, again helping with the money needed at the time of purchase. You can even add in the costs for repairing a home that needs a good deal of fixing up. Regardless, you will need to have enough money for the down payment, some closing costs, and inspection.

Since you would be putting less than 20% down, FHA loans require that you also have private mortgage insurance (PMI), which is a percentage of your loan. This will be added to your monthly mortgage payment, and the bank will pay it out of your monthly.

Being a first time home buyer probably means you need some help on getting through the process. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has housing counseling agencies that can give you advice on buying a home, avoiding foreclosure, and fixing your credit. You can find your local agency at http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm. Lastly, you can also find local buying programs to help with buying a home, including helping with your down payment at http://www.hud.gov/buying/localbuying.cfm.

If you never thought you would be able to afford a house, think again.This is just one of several programs available for first time home buyers.  Be sure to do your research to make sure that the plan you choose will work for you not just right now but in the future as well.

With programs out there to help you buy your first home, you could be moving into a place before you know it!  Be sure to meet with your local realtor to find your first home!  The realtors at Thomas D. Brown Real Estate are always available to help!

Spring on Cape Cod!!

Thinking about planning a Cape Cod Vacation? Think Spring!

When you think of taking a Cape Cod vacation you think of summer, right? You have good reason to – our beaches, image for New Listing in Truro!seafood, shopping and people are some of the best in the country!  We love having you here during the height of the season, but experienced tourists and locals alike know that the spring can be one of the best times to come and visit. Here are some reasons why:
1.) Smaller Crowds

Ask anyone that visits us here on Cape Cod what the most frustrating part of their trip is and they almost always answer traffic, especially coming on and off the Cape…UGH!! Everyone has their own theories on how to avoid it but let’s face it in the middle of August it is unavoidable.

Well, getting around Cape Cod in the spring is a piece of cake, and even better is that by the first weekend in May, almost all restaurants, resorts and attractions are open. If you want to spend an extra weekend with your special someone or the family, May and early June are great times to do it!

2.) Spring Festivals

There’s way more to Cape Cod than beaches! Everybody knows about our summer traditions like huge fourth of July fireworks and celebrations, Carnival Week in Provincetown, concerts at the Cape Cod Melody Tent and catching the stars of tomorrow at the Cape Cod Baseball League games.  But did you know that there are awesome festivals in the spring as well?cape baseball

Events like the Toast of Harwich, the Chatham Spring Fling and the Figawi Charity Ball and race all happen in May. At the Toast of Harwich you can sample food from Harwich’s best restaurants, sample wines from around the world and listen to live music. The Chatham Spring Fling is a similar event, but with a uniquely Chatham feel. The Cape Rep Theatre also starts it’s spring schedule so why not make one of the first weekends in May a cultural and culinary adventure? Going to these events will make you feel like a local, and you get to experience something you can’t do in the summer!

3.) It’s a Great Time to Run, Bike or Hike.

The spring is a great time to be outside – especially on Cape Cod. If you’re a fitness enthusiast, it simply can’t be beat.provincelands bike trail In May, it’s usually warm enough to run or bike outdoors in shorts, but cool enough that you won’t risk getting heatstroke or dehydrated. Plan a trip to come down and take some time exploring the Cape’s great biking, hiking and running trails. Many runners and bicyclists make the mistake of thinking that Cape Cod is endlessly flat. On the contrary, we actually have some of the hilliest terrain in the region, and biking the National Seashore’s trails (especially in the Provincelands in Provincetown) can prove to be a challenging endeavor.

May also plays host to several road races.  Plan an “active vacation” around spending a weekend exploring Cape Cod’s trails or a road race, and spend dinnertime enjoying a restaurant serving local, organic food from one of our many farms.
4.) You Can Get Up Close with Nature

Here on Cape Cod, we’re equally closely tied to the land and sea. Without the cranberry bogs that dot the Cape, and Truro’s little known history with turnips, the earliest Native American and English settlers would never have stayed around to give us the region we have now.

whales in the bayThe spring is an important time for the whales, a time during which some return to the region and when others leave. The endangered North Atlantic right whale leaves the waters around Cape Cod the first weekend in May every year.  This makes it a great time to come down, book a trip on a whale watch and catch these majestic creatures.  However this year the whales are on the move a bit early and up to 85 have been spotted in the Bay already this year!  It is a great time to get up close with some of the most amazing creatures on earth.

Other attractions, like botanical gardens such as the Pilgrim Monument and Museum in Provincetown and the Heritage Museum and Gardens in Sandwich are monumentjust now starting to open their doors meaning you can wander through, climb to the top and enjoy the views with no crowds!

 

5.) The Deals are Great

It’s easy to take a Cape Cod vacation on a budget in the springtime. Many resorts don’t start charging peak season rates until Memorial Day, meaning you can get a great value on your stay if you come in the Spring!  . Even a lot of regular vacationers don’t know that a good number of their favorite restaurants from the canal to Provincetown stay open year round, and that almost all of them have off-season menus, pricing and specials. Visiting in the Spring  you blend the best of both worlds – some of the nice weather you look forward to in the summer, with the value you’d get if you visited in the winter.

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Affordable Housing Opportunity

The real estate market in Truro is full of luxury and waterview homes that are marketed as secondary residences and vacation getaways. Don’t get me wrong, we love to list, sell and help clients buy these homes, but our very own Nick Brown has always been a strong and vocal supporter of affordable year round housing in Truro.  The property located on Sally’s Way consists of 2 and 3 bedroom units and they are now accepting applications for occupancy and for the wait list. For more information see below:

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We hope that you or someone you know will find this information helpful.  If you are looking to purchase a year-round or seasonal home on the Outer Cape call Nick today or fill out the contact form below to find out about some fantastic properties that are currently on the market.

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