No, you don’t need too but if you serious about buying a home you should. Most sellers won’t even look at an offer to purchase their home that is not accompanied by a pre-approval letter.
Mistake #1: Failing to have a plan
Deciding to buy a home is probably the biggest financial decision you will ever make. It is an exciting decision, but it is serious business too, and you deserve serious advice. With a game plan, you will eliminate many of the headaches involved in this complicated transaction.
You should have a clear plan when deciding to buy a home. Evaluate your current situation. Do you currently own a home? If so, will it be necessary to sell before making another purchase? Are you renting” How much time is left on your lease? What is important to you about the location of your home? How close do you need to be to schools, work, shopping?
Make a list of features that are important to have in your next home. List your desired price range, locations that you would like, number of bedrooms and baths, and any other amenities. Be specific and prioritize your list. It is unlikely that you will find a home that offers every feature you desire, but a list will help you identify homes that best meet your wants and needs.
Share your list with your real estate agent and review the details and priorities. Your agent will look for homes that best match your criteria, saving you time looking at homes that don’t fit your needs.
A proper game plan will save you time and reduce the stress of shopping for a home. Invest time at the beginning and you will have a more satisfying home buying experience.
The right real estate agent can make the home buying process a satisfying and profitable experience.
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As unfortunate as it can be when homeowners fall behind on mortgage payments and must face the possibility of losing their homes, short sales and foreclosures provide them options for moving on financially. The terms are often used interchangeably, but they’re actually quite different, with varying timelines and financial impact on the homeowner. Here’s a brief overview.
A short sale comes into play when a homeowner needs to sell their home but the home is worth less than the remaining balance that they owe. The lender can allow the homeowner to sell the home for less than the amount owed, freeing the homeowner from the financial predicament.
On the buyer side, short sales typically take three to four months to complete and many of the closing and repair costs are shifted from the seller to the lender.
On the other hand, a foreclosure occurs when a homeowner can no longer make payments on their home so the bank begins the process of repossessing it. A foreclosure usually moves much faster than a short sale and is more financially damaging to the homeowner.
After foreclosure the bank can sell the home in a foreclosure auction. For buyers, foreclosures are riskier than short sales, because homes are often bought sight unseen, with no inspection or warranty.
You’ve most likely heard the rule: Save for a 20-percent down payment before you buy a home. The logic behind saving 20 percent is solid, as it shows that you have the financial discipline and stability to save for a long-term goal. It also helps you get favorable rates from lenders.
But there can actually be financial benefits to putting down a small down payment—as low as three percent—rather than parting with so much cash up front, even if you have the money available.
The downsides of a small down payment are pretty well known. You’ll have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance for years, and the lower your down payment, the more you’ll pay. You’ll also be offered a lesser loan amount than borrowers who have a 20-percent down payment, which will eliminate some homes from your search.
The national average for home appreciation is about five percent. The appreciation is independent from your home payment, so whether you put down 20 percent or three percent, the increase in equity is the same. If you’re looking at your home as an investment, putting down a smaller amount can lead to a higher return on investment, while also leaving more of your savings free for home repairs, upgrades, or other investment opportunities.
THE HAPPY MEDIUM
Of course, your home payment options aren’t binary. Most borrowers can find some common ground between the security of a traditional 20 percent and an investment-focused, small down payment. Your trusted real estate professional can provide some answers as you explore your financing options. For additional questions