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Tips When Buying Homes

First Time Home Buyers, You Need These 7 Documents to Get Preapproved for a Mortgage Loan

Mortgage loan approved by lender

As a first-time home buyer, one of the aspects of the process that people may not be prepared for has to do with the sheer volume of documents that will be required to get qualified for a loan. Of course,

As a first-time home buyer, one of the aspects of the process that people may not be prepared for has to do with the sheer volume of documents that will be required to get qualified for a loan. Of course, it's in their best interest to get these items ready as early on as possible as most sellers expect you to have a pre-approval letter for a mortgage. Having this ready not only shows that they're serious about the process, but it also makes sure that everything goes through without delay. Not only that, but getting pre-qualified for a mortgage can also act as a useful estimate of how much someone can actually afford to spend on a home - thus making sure that they (and you as their real estate agent) are not focusing their attention on the wrong areas. Thankfully, gathering all of these documents together won't be nearly as difficult as you may be assuming. You just need to keep a few key things in mind along the way. Proof of Income By far, the most important document that will be needed to qualify someone for a loan involves some type of proof of income. This will usually require that the buyer produce their W-2 wage statement from the past two years, but recent pay stubs and proof of any additional income (like bonuses) may also be needed. Likewise, buyer's will probably have to produce their most recent two years worth of tax returns. Proof of Assets At that point, buyers will have to produce their proof of assets - which will typically involve bank statements and investment account statements to prove that they have the money necessary for any down payments or closing costs. A Credit Check Containing Your FICO Score Typically speaking, buyers will also have to have good credit in order to qualify for a loan - which means that they'll need to produce what is necessary to run a credit check. For a conventional loan, this means having a FICO score of at least 620 if not higher. If the buyer will be getting a Federal Housing Administration loan, they can usually get by with a score of at least 580. Employment Verification Next, buyers will have to provide some type of employment verification as lenders usually only deal with people who have stable employment. In addition to providing pay stubs, a lender will likely call the buyer's employer to verify that they actually work there. Driver’s License and Social Security Finally, buyers will have to produce a copy of their driver's license and their Social Security number. In addition to being necessary for running a credit score, this will help make sure that the lender has everything they need to confirm that someone is capable of paying back the type of mortgage they are requesting. Final Step: Getting a Mortgage Preapproval Letter from the Lender Once the buyer has all of these documents prepared, their lender will have everything they need to approve a specific loan amount and that will be valid for somewhere between 60 and 90 days. Loan officers will use these documents, along with their own internal systems, to qualify the buyer based on what they've provided and underwriters will be a big part of this process, too. As a real estate agent, you should always ask buyers if they are pre-qualified for a loan BEFORE putting a lot of work in to help them find a home. If nothing else, this will be a useful indicator of what types of potential homes you should be steering them towards. It will also instantly help you separate the more serious home buyers from people who may just be casually looking, thus freeing up as much of your own time as possible to focus on those matters that really need you. Love, Kartik
Tips When Buying Homes

Breaking Down the Importance of a Home Inspection

Home inspector detecting issues

To say that the stakes are high when purchasing a home is an understatement. Not only is any new home purchase one of the turning points in most people's lives, but it also represents an enormous financial

To say that the stakes are high when purchasing a home is an understatement. Not only is any new home purchase one of the turning points in most people's lives, but it also represents an enormous financial investment - the likes of which you may never actually make again. One of the most critical parts of this process is also, unfortunately, the one that a lot of people tend to overlook until it's too late: The home inspection. Why Buyers Should Never Skip a Home Inspection Buying a home is costly, yes, to the point where you may be tempted to capitalize on any opportunity to save a little money where you can. But you shouldn't do so with regards to your home inspection. A good home inspector is worth their weight in gold and the inspection brings an array of benefits that you literally cannot afford to ignore. Reason 1: It Protects the Buyer by Identifying Potential Safety Issues By far, one of the biggest reasons why a home inspection is so important comes down to how it can protect the buyer before they move in. A trained home inspector can help detect issues that you won't necessarily see on a simple walk-through, ranging from radon to carbon monoxide problems to mold and more. A home inspector will also be on the lookout for any work that was done on the house without a proper permit, or in a way that wasn't up to code. For example, this expertise can be critical in terms of the home's electrical system, which should only ever be worked on by a qualified electrician. Just because the lights work or because "the house hasn't burned down yet" doesn't mean you're out of the woods from a safety perspective. Even if there are no major issues but you still have work that wasn't completed without the proper permits, it could impact the amount you'll pay in insurance, taxes and even your ability to re-sell the house again in the future. All of this is to say that if you needed a single reason to underline the importance of a home inspection, let it be that one. Reason 2: It Uncovers Costly Repairs in the Future Of course, the benefits certainly don't stop there. A home inspector can also give you valuable information about the age (and condition) of the home your Realtor might not even have. They'll be able to take a closer look at things like plumbing, your HVAC system and more - all so that you can get a better idea of how much (and when) you'll have to pay for upgrades in the future. Reason 3: It Can Be Used as a Negotiation Tool On that point, this can also be a particularly useful negotiating tool before the sale itself goes through. If a home inspector tells you that the heating and cooling system needs to be replaced and it'll cost an estimated $3,000, you could potentially have your real estate agent negotiate to have the seller take care of it (or, conversely, have them drop the price or credit you by that same amount to get the sale completed faster). Reason 4: The Inspector Can Give Valuable Homeowner Advice Your home inspector should also be able to suggest specific, actionable tips for how to maintain your home as well - which itself could save you thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your ownership. Additional Considerations About Your Home Inspection One thing to keep in mind, however, is that home inspectors in the state of California aren't actually licensed by the state - meaning that anyone can start their own home inspection business without any type of regulatory oversight to speak of. Therefore, you should do your research before deciding on a home inspector to go with. In the end, a new home is one of the most important investments you'll ever make - and that investment deserves to be protected. Getting a home inspection is a great way to accomplish precisely that, all while giving you enough actionable information necessary to make smarter and more informed decisions through the purchasing process. Love, Kartik