Michelle Gillespie - Keller Williams Realty

Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 3/11/2018

The homebuying journey should be fast and seamless, but problems may arise that prevent you from accomplishing your desired goals. For example, if a buyer with a poor credit score fails to get financing before submitting an offer to purchase a house, this individual may struggle to acquire his or her dream residence. Or, if a buyer fails to evaluate various housing market data, he or she may miss out on opportunities to purchase the right house at an affordable price.

There is no need to worry about homebuying crises. Lucky for you, we're here to guide you along the homebuying journey and ensure you can mitigate problems that otherwise may make it difficult for you to buy your dream house.

Avoid homebuying crises Ė here are three tips to help you minimize the risk of encountering problems during the homebuying journey.

1. Learn About the Local Housing Market

The housing market is complex, regardless of whether you are pursuing residences in small towns or big cities. Fortunately, plenty of housing market data is available to help you understand real estate patterns and trends. This information can help you map out your homebuying journey based on the current housing market's conditions.

Typically, it helps to look at the prices of recently sold houses in your preferred cities and towns. This information highlights whether house sellers are receiving offers at or above their initial asking prices and may help you differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's one.

You also should examine the prices of available houses that match your homebuying criteria. That way, you can hone your home search and accelerate the homebuying journey.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Believe it or not, it usually does not take long for a homebuyer to get pre-approved for a mortgage. In fact, banks and credit unions can quickly teach you about different home financing options and ensure you can make an informed mortgage decision.

If you receive pre-approval for a mortgage, you can enter the housing market with a budget. Then, when you discover your dream house, you can submit an offer to purchase with home financing in hand.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a must-hire, especially if you want to limit the risk of potential crises during the homebuying journey. With a real estate agent at your side, you can identify homebuying problems and resolve these issues before they escalate.

Generally, a real estate agent will support you at each stage of the homebuying journey. He or she first will learn about you and your homebuying goals. Then, a real estate agent will create a personalized homebuying strategy to help you accomplish the optimal results. And if you have concerns or questions during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is happy to respond to them.

Prevent homebuying crises Ė use the aforementioned tips, and you can increase the likelihood of a successful homebuying experience.

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Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 3/4/2018

It can be difficult to find the extra savings to put towards your first home as a renter. With rent and utility prices rising, most peopleís paychecks are leaving them with less and less savings at the end of the month.

Buying your first home, however, can be a great long-term financial decision. It will help you build equity, and, eventually, youíll be able to use that equity toward another home or toward retiring.

In todayís post, weíll talk about some of the ways to save for a down payment while renting an apartment.

How much to save

In order to make the most of your first home purchase, youíll want to save up as much of a down payment as possible. This will help you receive the lowest interest rate and reduce the amount youíll pay toward interest.

If you can manage to save 20% of the loan, youíll also be able to waive private mortgage insurance (PMI), that would otherwise set you back around $100 per month or more.

Smart ways to save while renting

If youíre ready to get serious about saving for your first down payment, letís talk about the best way to approach your savings plan.

Pay off small debts

If youíve had that lingering credit card debt that youíve never quite paid off, now is the time. Take a look at your current debts. Pay off the smaller balances first and focus on debt with the highest interest rate.

This will enable you to start making larger deposits toward your down payment savings sooner and can help you avoid needlessly paying interest on small loans and credit card debt.

Open a dedicated account or CD

The best way to make sure you contribute to your down payment savings plan is to open a savings account or take out a CD (certificate of deposit).

A savings account with a high-interest return is a good option for people who are worried that they may need to access their funds before theyíre ready to buy a home.

If youíre comfortable with not being able to access your funds until a set date, then a CD could help you save more money.

Since CDs are a one-time payment, many people choose to combine both CDs and high-interest savings accounts to achieve their savings goals.

Regardless of which option you choose, be sure to shop around for the highest interest rate. Online banks tend to have higher rates than traditional banks and are also easy to sign up for.

Direct deposit a portion of your pay

Opening a bank account or CD wonít do you any good if you donít commit to contributing to it. If you are paid via direct deposit, visit your HR office and ask them to reassign a portion of your weekly pay to your new account.

By following these tips, youíll be able to better prepare for your down payment. Donít  wait! The sooner you start saving, the sooner youíll be able to purchase your first home.

Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 2/18/2018

Buying a house should be a fast, simple process. However, problems sometimes can arise that prevent a homebuyer from discovering his or her dream residence.

Ultimately, there are many factors to consider before you purchase a house to ensure you can avoid myriad homebuying hurdles, and these factors include:

1. Your Home Needs

No two houses are identical, and much in the same vein, no two homebuyers have the same definition of the perfect residence. As such, a homebuyer should consider his or her dream home demands prior to kicking off a home search.

Making a checklist of home "must-haves" and "wants" is paramount. With this checklist in hand, a homebuyer will be able to refine his or her home search and map out the property buying journey accordingly.

It may be helpful to consider your day-to-day activities as you evaluate where you want to live too.

For example, if you work in the city, you may want to find a house that is located near public transportation. Comparatively, if you have kids, you may want to consider houses that are located close to top schools.

2. Your Budget

You know that you want to buy a house. On the other hand, you still have no idea how much money is available to ensure you can make your homeownership dreams come true.

When it comes to buying a house, it pays to meet with banks and credit unions. With pre-approval for a mortgage, you'll know precisely how much you can spend on a house.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, set up consultations with several potential lenders. Then, you can learn about all of your mortgage options and select a mortgage lender that matches or surpasses your expectations.

3. Your Homebuying Timeline

Are you looking to buy a home as soon as possible? Or, can you afford to take a wait-and-see approach throughout the homebuying journey?

Examine your homebuying timeline and plan ahead as much as possible. By doing so, you can boost your chances of finding a terrific house and minimize stress as you browse the real estate market.

Regardless of your homebuying timeline, it always helps to work with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can take the guesswork out of searching for a residence and ensure you can discover a stellar house at a budget-friendly price.

Typically, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about new residences as they become available. He or she also will provide honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations and respond to any homebuying concerns and questions.

Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent can provide during homebuying negotiations, either.

A real estate agent is happy to negotiate with a home seller on your behalf. That way, he or she can help you secure a great house without having to worry about paying too much.

Streamline the process of acquiring your ideal residence. Consider the aforementioned factors, and you can keep things simple as you proceed along the homebuying journey.

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Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 2/4/2018

Obtaining a home loan is a must for most homebuyers. However, there is a lot to think about to ensure a homebuyer can secure a loan that matches or exceeds his or her expectations.

Some of the key questions to consider about a home loan include:

1. What is a home loan's interest rate?

It is paramount to understand a home loan's interest rate, along with any associated loan fees. That way, a homebuyer will know exactly how much he or she will be paying over the life of a home loan.

If a homebuyer chooses a fixed-rate mortgage, he or she can lock in an interest rate for the duration of a home loan. This means a homebuyer will pay the same amount each month. And in many instances, a fixed-rate mortgage can be paid off early without penalty.

On the other hand, a homebuyer may prefer an adjustable-rate mortgage. With this type of mortgage, a homebuyer may receive a lower interest rate initially that rises after a set period of time.

Compare and contrast the different home loan options and their associated interest rates. By doing so, a homebuyer can make an informed home loan decision, one that serves him or her well both now and in the future.

2. Does a home loan require a minimum down payment?

Ask a lender about whether there is a minimum down payment required as part of a home loan agreement. Typically, a homebuyer will need to pay at least a small portion of a home's price to secure a home loan, and it certainly helps to have this information available before you start evaluating available residences.

In addition, it may be worthwhile to save as much money as possible prior to starting a home search. With money at your disposal, you may be better equipped than ever before to make a large down payment, thereby reducing the amount that you'll need for a home loan. Plus, you may even be able to boost your chances of getting a favorable home loan interest rate.

3. Will I need to provide legal documents to obtain a home loan?

Lenders will require you to provide proof of your income and assets, W-2 statements and other legal documents to finalize a home loan agreement. If you stay organized and have these documents readily available, you should have no trouble providing them to a lender as needed.

Overall, the home loan application process may vary from several weeks to many months. The time it takes to secure a home loan can be stressful, and if you need extra help along the way, it never hurts to reach out to a real estate agent.

With a real estate agent at your side, you can streamline the process of buying your dream home. This housing market professional can offer expert tips throughout the homebuying journey and ensure you can discover a great house at an affordable price.

Take the guesswork out of securing a home loan Ė consider the aforementioned questions, and you can move one step closer to getting the financing you need to obtain your ideal residence.

Tags: Buying a home   loans  
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Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 12/24/2017

Once you move in with a partner, you know you have reached an important milestone in your relationship. For the first time, you could be talking about money with your partner. Whether youíre moving into an apartment or buying a home together, itís important to break down how youíll merge your finances together. 

While itís one of the least romantic conversations that youíll probably have as a couple, sharing your financial situation is one of the most vital. Below youíll find some tips on starting that conversation and making it a smooth one.

Be Honest

In any relationship, honesty and communication are key. This is especially true when it comes to finances. Thereís a lot that goes into your own financial picture, and itís important that you share that with your partner. This is important for everything that will happen in the future including purchasing a home. Some things that your partner should know:

  • How much loan debt you have
  • A rough idea of your credit score and history
  • Your income
  • Your spending habits
  • Your saving habits

Itís important to know how another personís habits will affect you as a whole when youíre thinking of making an investment together like a piece of property. Everyone handles money differently, and you should know how someoneís spending habits meshes with yours. Do they live paycheck to paycheck? Do they save money regularly? Are they financially strained? All of these questions help you to understand where you are similar and where you are different when it comes to money.

Have A Plan For How Youíll Divide Expenses

It may seem like a 50/50 split on expenses makes the most sense. For many couples it does. In other situations, if one person makes more money, they may need to pay a bit more of the costs. Some couples have one person pay the rent while the other takes the utilities on as an expense. Take amounts and percentages that you feel comfortable with and do what wrks best for the both of you. 

Remember that chores count too when it comes to dividing up the ďexpenses.Ē This is just an extra tip that will help you to build a stronger relationship in the long term and help to save arguments.

Use A Joint Account For Expenses

You should still keep your own bank accounts when you move in with a significant other.  All of your money shouldnít be funneled into one singular account. Create a separate bank account for your expenses like rent or mortgage and utilities. All of your personal expenses should come out of your own respective accounts. 

Make Contracts

No matter how much you feel that you can trust a person, itís always good to put everything in writing. This way, if there are any disputes in the future, youíll always have a contract that you can refer back to. Itís also important to have these documents for things like security deposits or down payments. If the relationship ends at any point, itís important for the person who paid for certain things to get their money back.     

Planning and tracking your finances when you move in with a significant other is important. It will certainly make your life easier if you have these conversations beforehand.