If you’re in the home hunting process and working with an agent, you may have been asked to sign a Buyers Agency Contract (BAC). This contract essentially binds you to the agent you’re working with—that is, if you purchase a home during the term designated on the BAC, your agent is legally entitled to represent you.
Every real estate agency is different. Some agencies may ask you to sign right away, while others wait until you’re comfortable with your agent (like us!). We like to recommend you wait until you trust your agent and ensure that he/she is who you’d really like to work with. After all, you can only enter a Buyers Agency Contract with one agent at a time!
So what happens if you’ve signed a Buyers Agency Contract…but you don’t wish to work with your agent anymore? If you’re with an EveryHome agent, it’s easy! We offer 7-day “easy out” contracts, because we understand that situations change. But if you’re with a “big box” agency, it might be a little more difficult. The best thing to do would be to consult with your agent, or his or her broker.
If you have any further questions, we always like to suggest you consult an attorney. Happy Home Hunting!
VA Loans : What are they and how do they work?
If you’re an American active-duty military member, veteran, or surviving spouse of a veteran, you may be eligible for a VA Loans (Veterans Affairs). These types of loans are backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and provide cost-effective and accessible financing, in an age where buying a home isn’t always cheap & easy! Here are three of their best benefits:
1. VA Loans require NO down payment to approved buyers (most homes require a minimum of 3.5-5% down). They offer 100 percent financing to those who qualify, and they don’t require private mortgage insurance (PMI).
2. Credit Standards are a bit easier. While FHA and Conventional loans typically have a minimum credit score requirement, standards for the VA loan are more relaxed and allow more folks to become homeowners. Generally, most VA lenders require only a 620 minimum credit score.
3. Competitive Interest Rates. While VA loan rates will fluctuate a bit based on the market and individual buyer, they remain very competitive with other loan programs (such as FHA). In fact, VeteransUnited.com acknowledges that they frequently fall below rates of conventional loans!
So, you’re thinking about buying a home with a VA loan? Getting started is easy.
First, you’ll want to obtain your Certificate of Eligibility (which you can do here:http://www.benefits.va.gov/HOMELOANS/purchaseco_certificate.asp). The next step is getting lender approval to get the best sense of your qualifying price range. Lender approval is easy & non-binding. We recommend reaching out to Joe Callahan of First Choice Loan Services at 215 913 8581 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Get Ahead In A Sellers Market!
If you’re in the home buying process, you might have already realized it’s a sellers market! Because home inventory is currently so low, sellers have the upper hand and many buyers are left waiting and waiting for that perfect home to pop up. Here are a few ways to keep up:
1. The housing market is moving quickly—really quickly! Well-priced homes in some neighborhoods are often selling within a day or two of hitting the market, and buyers are getting competitive. If you’re waiting a few weeks or a month to start seeing homes in person, it’s best to not get your heart set on a specific home that you see available now, as they’re selling fast. (We hate to see broken hearts!) And more importantly, when you are ready to see a home, try to schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience.
2. If you’re planning on getting a mortgage, it’s a great idea to talk to a lender before you start any serious home hunting. They’ll give you a realistic budget, and they’ll be able to draft a pre-approval letter for you. A pre-approval is necessary to submit with an offer (it shows the sellers that you’re good for your money) and you don’t want to have to wait around for that letter when your dream home hits the market.
3. We’ve seen more bidding wars than ever lately, and that brings us to the “P” word: Price! Bidding wars in a sellers market aren’t uncommon anymore, and homes in some neighborhoods will frequently sell for over the asking price. Sometimes the “asking price” is really the “starting price”! Your agent can help you further assess what is a fair offer and if the seller has had any other offers.
4. You’ve probably heard that real estate is hyperlocal, and it’s true! The market fluctuates neighborhood by neighborhood, and while sellers tend to have the advantage in our region, buyer’s markets do exist! Very broadly speaking, more rural communities that are further away from Philadelphia tend to still favor the buyer. For a more exact response, ask your EveryHome agent how the buyer’s market and sellers market is in your neighborhood!
Qualifying for Your First Mortgage
If you’re a first time home buyer, you might have the jitters about qualifying for your first mortgage (don’t worry—we all did!). We understand how daunting the whole process can be, and we appreciate your nervousness…after all, there are frequently stories in the news about the tight lending environment and credit score minimums. Yikes! Let’s clear up some of these misconceptions:
First things first. Your ability to qualify for your first mortgage (and the amount you may qualify for) is largely based upon your debt-to-income ratio and your credit score. Your available assets (for example, the number in your checking account) will also be taken into consideration.
The minimum credit score depends on the type of loan you wish to secure. The two major types of loans are FHA and Conventional, and the difference is that FHA is government-insured and a bit easier to obtain. FHA loans require 3.5% down, and typically require a minimum credit score of 620.
Alternatively, conventional loans typically prefer credit scores in the 700s or above, and require a 5% down payment. They’re a bit more difficult to obtain, but they generally offer “better terms for better buyers”.
We specialize in helping first time home buyers here at EveryHome, and we’d love to help you, too! We have a great team of lenders waiting to assist you on your first mortgage, and it’s a lot easier than you think (the first step is purely verbal and takes just a few minutes over the phone). Send us a no-obligation e-mail at email@example.com and we’ll help you get started!
Tips to Stage Your Home this Fall
|It’s no secret that home staging is necessary to showcase your home’s best features to prospective buyers, and these four ideas will keep your home looking warm and cozy when fall rolls around!
A pretty, seasonal flag at 10 Rambler Rd in Southampton PA
|1. Curb appeal! Maintaining a beautiful exterior is the easiest way to attract buyers, and fall-specific maintenance is an important part. Rake up unwanted leaves, patch up brown spots in the grass, and consider pressure washing your siding.
|2. A few decorations can go a long way! Hints of seasonal foliage, a couple of pumpkins, or cornstalks outdoors are a great way to keep your home feeling seasonal, but be careful to not go overboard. Potential buyers want to see your home, and too much extra clutter can be distracting.
|3. As the days get shorter in the fall, you may want to check that your home is adequately lit. Buyers tend to prefer well-lit homes, and the fall is no exception! Consider adding a few more lights around your home, amping up the wattage, or installing exterior lights to make your home stand out in the evening!
|4. Appeal to all of the senses by lighting a fall-scented candle, leaving out a bowl of candy corn, and lighting the fireplace for added warmth.