Category Archives: Home Buying

VA Loans Post Record Year in 2013

The Department of Veterans Affairs recently announced that the number of loans it guaranteed reached a record high in 2013.

The VA guaranteed almost 630,000 mortgage loans in 2013 according to Mike Frueh, the director of the VA’s Loan Guaranty Program.

An overall tight lending environment is making VA loans more attractive to current and past service members.

VA loans do not require a downpayment. Roughly 90 percent of all VA loans for home purchases are made with no money. These loans do not require private mortgage insurance to be purchased, as with most other high loan to value mortgages.

States that have seen the largest increase in VA loans within the past year are Arizona (up 40 percent in 2013 over 2012), Ohio (30 percent) and Connecticut (30 percent).

Sources: The New York Times and REALTOR®Mag

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Tips for Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent

Buying real estate is complex, and it’s important for you to select an agent who is competent, honest and knowledgeable, and will represent  your best interests throughout the entire process of either buying or selling a property.

Here are some key areas to look for when selecting an agent:

Experience
Ideally you want an agent who works in the business on a full time basis, and closes at least five to ten sales per year. The more closings an agent has under their belt, the better prepared they will be to help you through the many twists and turns of a real estate transaction.

Time to work with you
You want an agent that will spend the time with you that will be needed. If an agent seems too busy, maybe you should look for one that’s less busy.

Location
Generally you will be better served if you pick an agent that has sold a number of properties within your neighborhood. They will be most familiar with the property values and issues unique to your neighborhood. Additionally they will often have a pool of prospective buyers that are interested in the area.

Help you protect yourself
You want to pick an agent that will help you to make smart decisions. This agent should be well-versed enough to advise you on a number of issues, such as, financing, negotiations, inspections, closing and etc. 

Someone you feel comfortable with
The working relationship between you and your agent will be one that will usually last several months from beginning to end, so make sure you feel comfortable with who you choose. 

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Real Estate Search Links for Monroe & Rhea

These links will give you access to the most current property listings from the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors MLS system. The information is updated on a daily basis, so check back often.

Monroe County
http://idx.diversesolutions.com/link/308224 

Rhea County
http://idx.diversesolutions.com/link/308238

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Here’s How Most Buyers Find a Real Estate Agent

Most buyers find their real estate agent in one of the following ways (listed from most common to least common):

1. Referred by a friend, relative or neighbor

2. Website

3. Used agent previously

4. Saw contact info on a For Sale or Open House sign

5. Meet agent at an open house

6. Referred by another agent

7. Personal contact by agent

8. Employer or relocation company referral

9. Office walk-in

10. Internet search engine

Source: National Association of Realtors®

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Learn These Real Estate Terms

These terms are handy to know terms when you are involved in either buying or selling real estate:

Disclosure Statements
These are most often prepared by the person selling a property. They can include a property condition disclosure, a lead based paint disclosure (for properties built prior to 1978), and a septic disclosure to name a few. You should ask for copies prior to preparing a written offer.

Good Faith Estimate
A lender is required to provide a borrower this document at loan application. It provides the borrower a breakdown of their loan costs, closing costs and downpayment required. It also gives an estimate of the total monthly payment. The numbers from the Good Faith Estimate and the closing statement should align fairly close, if not you should ask questions.

MIP
This stands for Mortgage Insurance Premium. If your obtaining a mortgage with a loan to value greater than 80%, then the lender will require mortgage insurance in most cases. The premium is usually paid as part of your monthly house payment. For some loan programs a portion of the premium is collected when the loan is funded. 

Lien
This is a claim by someone or a company on a property, usually for money owed. In Tennesse a Deed of Trust is filed with the Register of Deeds in the county where the property is located. This document reflects the terms of the loan, and is a matter of public record. 

Buyer’s Market
This is a a term used when the market is in the buyer’s favor. The buyer usually has the advantage when it comes to negotiations. A buyer’s market occurs when there are more homes for sale than there are buyers to purchase them, thus forcing sellers to me more aggressive with pricing. Usually homes take in excess of six months to sell in this type of market.

Seller’s Market
This term is used when there are not enough homes available for the number of buyers looking to purchase. This environment gives the seller the advantage when it comes to negotiations. In this type of market you will see home prices on the rise as many properties will receive multiple offers. In this kind of market, homes that are priced right and in good condition may only be on the market for a few weeks.

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Recover from a Foreclosure or Short Sale

If you lost your home due to a foreclosure or short sale, you probably would like to own a home once again. The good news is that a number of guidelines have changed which may allow you an opportunity to buy a new home sooner than you think.

The traditional waiting period after a foreclosure is seven years. However; these waiting period guidelines may change and you would be best served to get up to date information from a qualified mortgage professional. Many lenders will shorten the waiting period some if there were extenuating circumstances surrounding the foreclosure of your home. Was there a death or illness that prevented you from earning enough money to meet your mortgage obligations? Did you loose your job or incur a substantial pay cut for some reason? These and similar reasons might be enough for a lender to shorten your waiting period after a foreclosure.

Your credit is often re-established quicker after a short sale than a foreclosure. Generally lenders will require only a two-year waiting period before they will consider you for another mortgage. Once again; seek the advice of a licensed mortgage professional to obtain the latest information on their qualifying guidelines.

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Guide to Home Buying

Most people only buy a couple of homes in their lifetime. This lack of experience leads to many home buyers feeling woefully unprepared, increasing their stress level which affects their decision making at the worst possible time. The process doesn’t have to be so complicated if you keep things in perspective.

Keep in mind you’re not getting married. You don’t have to make a lifelong commitment to a home. So relax, you only  need commit to a home for a few years. You can always move later if you fall out of love with your home, as long as you buy it right.

Here are a set of rules that will help you through the process:

*Determine your needs for the next five years. Affordability is number one. Make sure you consider all the costs: mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, maintenance and utilities. Your family size, lifestyle and profession are also important factors.

*Get the facts. The number one rule is do not overpay for a home. Try to determine what a home is worth based on comparable sales. If the home needs repairs, be realistic when you estimate those costs.

*Don’t fall completely in love. Lacking experience, people rely on their emotions. Remember a house is just sticks and stones and there are plenty of them out there.

*Get professional help. Seek the assistance of a REALTOR® to help guide you through the different steps. Educate yourself as much as possible so that you can better utilize your agent.

*Don’t be afraid to pull the trigger or walk away. Once you compile all the facts concerning a house you love, it becomes a much easier decision. If you love a house, the price is fair and affordable, then don’t be afraid to seal the deal.

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Home Buyers can be Thankful for 2013

There were several favorable events that benefited the average home buyer in 2013:

•Mortgage rates remained low

•The heated bidding wars that were happening in some markets ceased

•Investor buyers have cooled off, creating less competition and holding down prices

•The latest in technology has made home shopping easier for most buyers

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Real Estate Search Links for Campbell & Claiborne

These links will give you access to the most current property listings from the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors MLS system. The information is updated on a daily basis, so check back often.

Campbell County
http://idx.diversesolutions.com/link/308226 

Claiborne County
http://idx.diversesolutions.com/link/308240

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