For home buyers, especially anyone buying their first home, current interest rates are still extremely low, making now a good time to buy a home; but what if not every factor is in your favor? Specific price points, neighborhoods, or home types will be in greater demand at given times, and the current market is no exception. It’s still possible to get the home you want in a competitive market by being prepared. Today we take a little time to remind buyers what they can do to be in the best position to buy. Continue reading…
Whether you’re looking to purchase a home or already a homeowner, you probably are aware that things like property taxes or other expenses related to your home can greatly affect it’s affordability. As a result, homeowners (as well as potential buyers) are wise to consider ways to save on regular expenses or modifications to your home. One way you might not be aware of to do this is through energy conservation programs like Energy Wise MN. Available to members of electrical cooperatives around the Twin Cities and out-state Minnesota, these cooperatives provide the power to thousands of residents. To promote upgrades to appliances in favor of higher efficiency units, Energy Wise MN and local energy cooperatives are offering rebates to homeowners who purchase qualifying units in several categories:
If you’re considering purchasing a home or getting the ball rolling, you have no doubt heard the importance of getting your financials in order; but what is a first time buyer with limited finances to do? If you have not already met with a loan officer, we suggest doing so before looking at houses to ensure that when you do find the right house, you’re ready to move on it.
Short of that however, the process can be confusing to anyone who hasn’t been through it before. One good resource for Minnesota home buyers is the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA). With resources available to new buyers as well as existing homeowners in the way of loan programs, down payment assistance, and home buyer education, buyers can tap into various opportunities that can stretch your own personal funds and ease the financial burden at closing.
For first-time buyers (or have not owned a home in the past three years), affordable loan programs are available to consumers. There are income qualification guidelines and complete information can be found here. As of February 2017, these include:
- Interest Rates starting at 4% (Rates are constantly changing and depend on a variety of factors)
- Access to down payment and closing assistance programs
- up to 97% Loan-to-Value ratio
- Fixed interest rate
Down Payment Assistance / Closing Cost Assistance
When you make an offer on a property, buyers provide the seller with earnest money. At closing you bring the amount needed for the down payment, minus the earnest money already given, but unless it’s part of the purchase agreement that the seller pays closing costs, buyers can expect to provide additional money for closing costs. These include things like loan origination fee, title insurance and mortgage registration tax; all of which can equal roughly 3% of the loan amount. Programs are available to buyers in the form of loans and deferred payment loans. Some highlights of these loans are:
- Up to $10,000 in down payment assistance
- 10-year term, or deferred (loan repaid upon sale of the home)
- Maximum home value is $307,300 for homes in the 11 county metro area, and $258,600 in the remainder of the state.
The Importance of Homebuyer Education
You might find that many people you talk to haven’t gone through homebuyer education, but most of them probably bought before the housing bubble burst. One report from 2013 showed a 1/3 drop in mortgage delinquency when buyers participated in homebuyer education. What’s more, these classes can give buyers a better understanding of the home buying process and make more informed consumers.
Consider some of these resources to get you started on your house hunt, and we’re happy to help find your home. Contact one of our Agents today, and get on your way to calling some place “home.”
What app is the best for home searches?
This is a question buyers often ask. In today’s connected world, there’s an app (application) for everything. In fact, there are often multiple apps for any given topic. For home buyers this is no less true. We’ll explain what makes one app the best app for home search in our opinion and where others fall flat.
What features should an good app have?
To be useful, an app needs to have good information that can help you as a buyer decide if a house is worth further evaluation or a showing. Consider the following:
- Complete information such as number of bedrooms, bathrooms, size, etc.
- Availability status – is it for sale?
- Photographs of the property and structure
None of this, however is as important as one absolute. The information has to be CURRENT and ACCURATE, and this is where many applications fall flat. Many well known options in your favorite app store just don’t have information that is reliably up-to-date, and sometimes, the information can be even inaccurate. Continue reading…
Stress-Free Home Searches – How to Look for a Home the Simple Way
Your time is valuable – and buying a home (especially your first) can be an intimidating process for people. We make the process as simple as possible in order to make the most of your time. Creek Realty agents work with you from start to finish to create stress-free home searches; we think you might even find the process a fun one!
Where do we start when searching for a home?
The first step in any home search is pre-approval. The first step can be talking to a professional at your current bank, or looking for mortgage providers in your area. There are a number of organizations that provide mortgages including banks, credit unions, and specialty mortgage banks including Mid Country or Alerus . Starting with pre-approval helps you have the best understanding of what your budget is and what monthly payments look like for your situation. If you’ve already seen a house on the Creek Realty Property Search, you can use our Mortgage Calculator to get an estimate. From this meeting you will most likely receive a pre-approval letter indicating how much you will be approved for – with that in hand, we’re in the best position to help you find a home in your budget!
Questions to Ask Yourself about your Ideal home
Chances are you have some idea of where you might want to live, but if you don’t, here are some questions to consider: Continue reading…
For 2016, we’re excited to announce a new website, logo and a more robust property search engine than ever before. What hasn’t changed is our commitment to our clients and the quality service you’ve come to expect. Look for detailed information coming from our blog regarding buying, selling and real estate topics as well as resources for current homeowners!