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Welcome!

Welcome, First-Time Home Buyers!

If you’re a first-time home buyer these articles are chock full of advice that will give you the added “edge” when buying your first home. From finding your dream home online, negotiating a purchase contract, securing the best financing, to tips for a stress-free closing, you’ve now found your #1 first-time home buyer resource.

So WELCOME, check things out and visit often…you are well on your way to owning your first home!

Stephen Katz

The share of current renters who believe that now is a good time to buy has jumped to 62 percent. That’s a two percent increase from this time last year and a 10 percent increase from last quarter.

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The Most Common Buyer Mistakes

posted by Stephen Katz
Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Today we will be talking about some common mistakes that we often see buyers making. Hopefully, by alerting you to these potential downfalls, you can avoid them yourself when it comes time to buy. Here are the 5 most common mistakes we’ve been seeing:

1.  Not getting pre-approved. Getting pre-approved by turning in all of your financial documents to a lender is essential. Without one, your offer won’t be as good in the seller’s eyes, and you really have no idea what kind of home you can actually afford. A pre-approval gives you a great view of your financial picture.

2. Bidding aggressively on the perfect home. If you find the perfect home, that is not the time to bid aggressively. If the home is in good condition and appears to be priced correctly, bid closer to that price. Look to your Realtor for pricing guidelines.

3. Not bidding on the perfect home when they have the chance. If you have the chance to make an offer on your dream home, do it. You’ve got 10 days to do your due diligence on the home to make sure it actually is the perfect one for you. If it’s not, oh well. At least by making an offer, you have a chance to get the home. If you don’t make the offer, you may miss out on it, which has happened to a lot of our clients.

4. Expecting the home to be perfect. Understand that the home is complex. People have lived in it and there is always going to be a little wear and tear on any home. Usually it’s nothing major, just little cosmetic things. The important thing is making sure the home is structurally sound.

5. Not understanding their mortgage. Sometimes buyers don’t realize how much money they actually need until the last minute. We, the lender, will go over the actual costs with you, so you know exactly what you are going to have to have on hand as far as cash goes.

If you have any questions for us about this topic, or if you are thinking of buying a home yourself, give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to speaking with you!

 

Can You Really Trust Zestimates?

posted by Stephen Katz
Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Today we are talking about a topic we get a lot of questions about: Zestimates. Zestimates are Zillow’s automated home value system that will tell you what your home could sell for in the market. Is this the best way to determine value, and should you trust it? The answer is maybe, but it might not be a good idea.

Zillow themselves have disclosed that their Zestimates can be anywhere from 5-15% inaccurate. They use a basic algorithm to determine value that takes into account square footage, bedrooms, and bathrooms, but not much else. They also use sales data from their site, but that is often inaccurate as well. 

So please don’t look at your Zestimate as the exact figure your home will sell for. To truly determine your home’s market value, you need to hire an agent who has boots on the ground and understands what buyers are looking for.

There are a lot of things that go into determining your value that aren’t calculated in Zillow’s algorithm. Things like absorption rates, inventory, and interest rates can all change from one price range to the next. 

With that being said, there are a lot of agents out there that don’t have a ton of experience. It’s easy to get your real estate license, but it’s much more difficult to get to the point where you have the experience needed to accurately assess the value of the home. Agents should do a pre-appraisal to get yet another valuation for your home. 

So, be careful on Zillow, and don’t make your decisions based on that valuation. If you have any questions for us or are looking to buy or sell, give us a call or send us an email today!

The Best Place To Start Your Home Search

posted by Stephen Katz
Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Today, we’ll discuss how to effectively and efficiently start shopping for your next home. After you’re pre-approved and have your criteria figured out, what do you do?

There’s nothing wrong with taking a Sunday afternoon drive in an area where you want to live and start calling the Realtors on the For Sale signs. However, that’s not the most effective way to go about your home search, and with the price of gas these days, it can be very costly.

Most people begin searching online, using sites like Zillow or Trulia. While these sites provide a lot of information, I recommend using your Realtor’s home search site. The Realtor’s site will have a live feed to the listing service.

Other sites just give you a snapshot of homes on the market at one point in time, and don’t update often enough. Some properties listed on Zillow or Trulia actually sold two and a half years ago! If you want to use the most updated and accurate resource, use your Realtor’s website.

When looking for a home, you also need to know if it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market. It’s extremely important to understand the dynamics of the market you’re in so that you know what to expect in your own transaction. A seller’s market has low inventory, and the seller has more power. A buyer’s market has high inventory, and the buyer has more control of the transaction.

The last thing I want you to keep in mind is to never write an offer until you see a market analysis from your agent. Don’t assume that the seller has priced their home based on current market dynamics. Some listing agents go along with whatever the seller wants to price the home for just so the agent can get a listing. You want to make sure the home is priced correctly so you don’t overpay.

If you have any questions, give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you!

Have you ever wondered what the first step in the home buying process is?

Before you even start looking at homes, the first thing you need to do is get pre-qualified. The process is simple! Just give us a call, talk to us about what you want to do, and then we will take your personal information, income, and assets to figure out what kind of loan you will qualify for.

A pre-qualification is different from a pre-approval. The pre-qualification is more of a preliminary step. A pre-approval is when the we go through and verify the information you provided during the pre-qualification.

The documents you need to provide to the lender include 30 days worth of paystubs, your W-2s from the last two years, two years of tax returns if you have investment income or are self-employed, bank statements from the last two months, and a photo ID.

The whole process lasts about 30 days from getting approved to taking the loan to closing. You may even qualify for more than what you can afford. We allow you to borrow as much as our guidelines will allow, but that might be more than you can afford. Budget out your monthly mortgage payments in order to know what you can actually afford to spend on a home.

As always, questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We look forward to hearing from you!

Today, we’ll discuss the home inspection process. The home inspection is a crucial part of the process for both the buyer and the seller, although it is designed primarily to protect the buyer.

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We have been in business for over 20 years here in Atlanta and are local. If you want to close your loan on time, it’s best to work with a local lender, like us! We have local staff and will ensure your deal gets closed on time.

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What Causes A Loan To Fall Through?

posted by Stephen Katz
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Today, we’re going to talk about why some loans fall apart before they get to the closing table.

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Are you a first time home buyer? Are you trying to determine your budget? We (lenders) are more than happy to help you find your answer(s), but here are some tips to get you started:

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Home Purchase Process For First Time Buyers

posted by Stephen Katz
Thursday, July 13, 2017

Are you looking to buy your first home? Well look no further, because I’m here to walk you through the entire process!

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