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Home Buying

Atlanta Mortgage Lender - Secrets to Buying in a Seller's Market

Secrets to Buying in a Seller’s Market

Secrets to Buying in a Seller’s Market 1632 930 Client Connection

If you are looking to purchase a home but currently live in a competitive market, do not worry because there are simple tips to help you overcome the competition. So, to help provide some insight, your local Atlanta mortgage lender, Milend, Inc., has listed top secrets to buying in a seller’s market.

Tip #1: Get Pre-Approved

Working with a mortgage professional who thoroughly understands the home buying process knows what it takes to stand out with sellers. MiLEND, Inc. can pre-approve you for a mortgage, which can set you aside from other buyers. Getting pre-approved shows seller’s that you have had a professional review your finances and that they have agreed that you are financially capable of becoming a homeowner.

Tip #2: Work With A Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents are experts in their field and they can give you access to more homes on the market that you might not have known about. They are also used to working hand in hand with seller’s, which means they can help you stand out more from other buyers. If you are not currently working with a real estate agent and need help finding one, just ask your local Atlanta mortgage lender, MiLEND, Inc., who they would recommend.

Tip #3: Be Reasonable

Once the time comes to put an offer on the house, you want to be reasonable with your bid. If you do not offer a fair price, you risk the chance of the seller choosing another family to buy their house. You do not want to offer more than you need to, but you also want to be sure you are not offering too little. Just be reasonable and fair.

Tip #4: Don’t Wait Too Long

Trying to buy a home in a seller’s market means the pickings are slim and competitive. Therefore, if you find a house you love, try not to dwell on the decision too long. You don’t want to be impulsive but you also want to act quickly before your dream home comes off the market.

Tip #5: Make Yourself Stand Out

If you are in the middle of a bidding war with another family, you want to be sure and stand out from them. This can be done by offering to put down a larger deposit on the house or by being flexible with when the move in date is.

Contact Us

For more secrets on buying in a seller’s market, please contact your local Atlanta mortgage lender, Milend Inc., at 855-645-3631.

Top Reasons to Buy Your Own Home - Atlanta Mortgage Lender

Top Reasons to Buy Your Own Home

Top Reasons to Buy Your Own Home 1024 512 Jason Breeland

If you are currently renting your home, you may be wondering if it is really worth it to stop renting and purchase a house. This is something most first-time homebuyers run through their head. Buying a home will most likely be the biggest expense you ever have, so it is important to be sure this is financially the right choice for you.

So, to help you get started, your local Atlanta mortgage lender at Milend, Inc. has listed 5 of the top reasons you should buy your own home.

Reason #1: Ability To Design

When you own a home, you have the right to decorate and design your home however you want. You make the rules and no longer need to talk to your landlord and risk the chance of them charging you extra fees for altering the interior of their home.

Reason #2: Payment Stability

If you obtain a fixed Atlanta mortgage, you will be charged the exact same amount throughout your loan’s amortization period. Having this payment stability means you can budget more accurately and you never have to worry about your monthly payments increasing. If you rent, your landlord can increase your rent after every lease term, meaning you could end up paying more each year than originally expected.

Reason #3: Community Involvement

It is known that those who are homeowners are more likely to get involved in the community than those who rent. Community involvement is important because it allows homeowners to better the area in which they live, and it is an excellent opportunity to learn new skills and meet more people in your area.

Reason #4: Tax Deductions

You receive great tax benefits when owning a home that you do not have if you rent. As a homeowner, you are able to deduct your mortgage interest payments and your property tax payments from your taxes. (Please consult your tax advisor concerning the deductibility of your mortgage interest and property taxes)

Reason #5: Home Equity

When you rent a home, you will never see the money you pay to your landlord again, meaning it gives you no added benefits. If you are a homeowner, every month that you make a payment towards your Atlanta mortgage, you are increasing your home equity. Equity is the difference between your loan balance and the appraised value of your home. The more equity you have in your home, the more access you have to a lump sum of money that can be spent however you would like.

Contact Us

For more reasons you should buy your own home or to get started on your application today, please contact your local Atlanta mortgage lender Milend, Inc. at 855-645-3631.

Lagging Millennial Home Buyers: Just Give Them Time

Lagging Millennial Home Buyers: Just Give Them Time 1024 536 Jason Breeland

Lagging Millennial Home Buyers: Just Give Them Time

Those involved in the real estate market may have noticed some demographic changes recently. Where before real estate (and much else) revolved around baby boomers, it’s now about the millennials. And while numbers vary, there are now some 75 million of them.

According to the most recent census, millennials—those in the 18–34 age range—now represent more than 25 percent of the population and 32 percent of potential home buyers, notes a survey by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). As they age, they’ll further surpass baby boomers.

This change impacts everything from technology to the family dynamic and, of course, real estate. NAR studies show that the proportion of first-time home buyers is down for the third year in a row, despite low mortgage rates and other economic factors that suggest first-timers should be buying.  Why? A Pew Institute survey conducted in 2013 shows that millennials are living at home longer, or they and their parents may be buying homes together for cost-saving reasons. Renting—which many millennials would prefer—has become less viable in many areas as rents skyrocket and inventory drops.

Another contributing factor in the shift in the demographic of home buyers is the shift in the job market. A New York Times article from earlier this year states that many of the new jobs are appearing in urban areas, where housing is often the most expensive. And millennials like to live, work and play in cities.  At the same time, they’re having trouble finding those jobs. Credit and student debt are concerns as well, and all this is limiting the ability of the first-time millennial home buyer to save for a down payment. Conventional financing (obtaining a mortgage without requiring mortgage insurance) needs a 20 percent down payment, and credit requirements are more stringent than with Federal Housing Administration. Asset reserves are necessary. Lower down payment options (namely FHA) allow a buyer to put down as little as 3.5 percent, excluding escrow account requirements, but the cost of entry is high.

Currently, FHA requires an up-front mortgage insurance premium (which is financeable) of 1.75 percent of the amount financed; the monthly insurance premium will vary based on down payment and term of the mortgage.  Millennial buyers, however, do want to buy homes. In summer 2015, millennials made up 30 percent of buyers, according to Realtor.com chief economist Jonathon Smoke. Most of these cited family changes (marriage, kids) as their reasons for purchasing.

Give them time, says Smoke: “They should represent two-thirds of all household formations over the next five years. Job creation will favor them. Their economic opportunities are strong. And they’re planning to start families, which increases the desire to purchase a home.” Adds Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist: “The return of first-time buyers to normal levels will eventually take place in upcoming years as those living with their parents are likely to form households of their own, first as renters and then eventually as homeowners.”

Concludes Smoke: “They’re just getting started, and their sheer size will drive activity in housing for decades.”

Content provided by MiLEND, Inc. 

Two of the Biggest Mistakes Home Buyers Can Make

Two of the Biggest Mistakes Home Buyers Can Make 1024 536 Jason Breeland

Two of the Biggest Mistakes Home Buyers Can Make

Two things are absolutely vital for home buyers to do before they attempt to finance a home: 1) know and understand your credit profile, and 2) think about how your income could change due to life events in the future. Miss these and they will become two of your biggest mistakes.

Credit reports

Knowing ahead of time what an underwriter will see on your credit report is extremely important both for you and your loan originator; in the event that information is incorrect and needs to be changed, you can do it prior to falling in love with a home and making an offer. If there are errors (and depending on their extent), the process can take up to 60 days, or even longer in some cases.

There many ways to get your credit report pulled. The two best options, however, are to have your mortgage professional do it – even if he or she charges you for the service – or you can approach the credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax) yourself. There also are websites that promise to pull your report for free, but be cautious – there are scamsters out there.

Shortsightedness

Home buyers often don’t foresee changes in family size or employment status that could reduce your household income and the ability to pay your bills. Plan for a rainy day when you decide the amount you want to borrow; you never know when you might need an umbrella. Your mortgage professional can help you anticipate future changes and plan for them.

Content provided by MiLEND, Inc. 

Can an Appraisal Impact My Home Purchase?

Can an Appraisal Impact My Home Purchase? 1024 536 Jason Breeland

Can an Appraisal Impact My Home Purchase?

An appraisal is a valuation that your lender orders before giving you a mortgage to purchase a property.

It provides an independent assessment of what the property is really worth.  In the event you are unable to make your mortgage payments, and your lender has to sell the property, the appraisal represents the true value of the home and will inform them of the sales price.  The lending company also requires someone to physically see the property and establish if there are structural problems or flooding risks that may impact its current or future value.

You pay for the appraisal

In the case of a purchase transaction, the appraisal is ordered and completed after you and the seller have signed a sales contract.  The buyer will pay for the appraisal in advance.  Regardless of the outcome of the appraisal, this fee is nonrefundable. The lender will hire a third-party appraisal management firm to ensure the appraisal is independent, with little likelihood of bias in the report.  The property is inspected (with somewhat different criteria than a home inspection). The findings are then compared with similar properties in the same area.  After adjustments are made for differences such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and lot size, the appraiser comes up with a value.

Your real estate agent is also able to estimate the value of your property. He or she will have access to the same information that appraisers do, and an agent with experience should be able to come very close to the value submitted by the appraiser.  The lender, however, relies on the appraisal report, and that affects you: if the property is priced higher than its appraisal value, your lender is very unlikely to loan you the money to purchase it.

Of course, that also protects you, as you likely won’t want to pay more than the property is worth.

Content provided by MiLEND, Inc. 

Ensure Your Happiness with Your Locked-In Rate

Ensure Your Happiness with Your Locked-In Rate 1024 536 Jason Breeland

Ensure Your Happiness with Your Locked-In Rate

Just like the stock market, mortgage rates fluctuate. They may move daily, or even hourly, and often significantly in response to global events.

When you are negotiating a mortgage, you can “lock in” the mortgage interest rate through an arrangement with your lender. The arrangement will specify a time period over which you can lock in at the current interest rate. Before you lock in your rate, you need to ensure the rate is one you are happy with not just for now, but for as long as you have the mortgage.

Because rates fluctuate, it can—and does—happen that after you’ve locked in, rates fall. A lock is a commitment on your part and your lender’s part to accept a certain interest rate, and it’s unlikely that you will be able to get it lowered once you’ve made this commitment through the agreement with your lender. On the flip side if the rates go up you lender cannot raise you rate during the lock-in period.

To be able to lock your loan, you must be either fully approved or close to being fully approved.  This is to protect the lender, because by locking in your rate, he or she is making a commitment to the investor who will ultimately purchase your mortgage.  If the lender can’t deliver on your promised mortgage, he or she will be required to pay a fee for the use of the money between the date the rate was locked and the date the investor is notified that the loan won’t be delivered. This can become expensive for the lender. Both you and your lender should respect the mortgage lock.

Lenders are unlikely to be able to predict rates in the future, and ethically they can’t—and shouldn’t—advise you on what will happen to rates. Everyone has access to the same market information; your lender has no more insight into rates than you do. Expect your lender to explain the process, but not to help you decide when to lock in.

Content provided by MiLEND, Inc. 

75 Million Millennials Are About to Shape the Future of Real Estate

75 Million Millennials Are About to Shape the Future of Real Estate 1024 536 Jason Breeland

75 Million Millennials Are About to Shape the Future of Real Estate

Bob Dylan was so right: ‘the times, they are a-changin’. And the residential real estate market is being swept right along.

While in Dylan’s day it was about the group known as baby boomers, it’s now about the millennials—more than 75 million of them. According to the most recent census, millennials now represent more than 25 percent of the population and 32 percent of potential home buyers.

That means that many of you reading this are or soon will be looking for somewhere to live. Your impact is inescapable, and here’s the upshot to date:

Studies in recent years, including one by the Pew Institute in 2013, show that a sizable proportion of 18-to-34-year-olds are still living at home. Another trend is adult children and their parents looking for accommodations together for cost-saving reasons, a recent National Association of Realtors® survey found.

But not everyone is concerned for millennials: Jonathon Smoke, chief economist of Realtor.com, is bullish on them. He reports that in summer 2015, millennials made up 30 percent of buyers, many of whom cited family changes (marriage, kids) as their reasons for purchasing.

And while credit and student debt remain concerns for potential millennial home buyers, give them time. Says Smoke: “They should represent two-thirds of all household formations over the next five years. Job creation will favor them. Their economic opportunities are strong. And they’re planning to start families, which increases the desire to purchase a home. They’re just getting started, and their sheer size will drive activity in housing for decades.”

Content provided by MiLEND, Inc. 

You Can Reduce Your Closing Costs, But Should You?

You Can Reduce Your Closing Costs, But Should You? 1024 536 Jason Breeland

You Can Reduce Your Closing Costs, But Should You?

All of the costs incurred in the course of purchasing or refinancing a home are called “closing costs.” They include fees that you pay the lender, most importantly the origination fees, but other fees as well, such as appraisal, title, and recording fees.

Closing costs are usually paid from the borrower’s funds, but often you can lower them with seller credits. As well, your lender may agree to waive some of your closing costs. Sellers are often willing to cover some of your closing costs in exchange for a slightly higher purchase price, and lenders may be willing to collect less closing costs at the closing by charging a slightly higher interest rate.

Seller credits and trade-offs                                                                            

These may sound great, but note that a higher home price or a higher interest rate will cost you more in the long run. When you begin the prequalification process, consider these “benefits” but ensure you know the downsides.

Your real estate agent can help you decide the true worth of a sellers’ credit, while your lender can explain all the mortgage options available to you, including trading a higher rate for reduced closing costs. The decision, however, is yours.

Your down payment is also required at closing, and the amount of these funds (Down payment is not considered a cost) absolutely can’t be reduced by seller or lender trade-offs. Fortunately, you can use monetary gifts from close relatives to partially or completely reduce the down payment amount that comes out of your own funds, and you may also able to use approved government or other nonprofit down payment assistance programs. 

The qualified professionals at MiLEND are more than happy to offer free advice on how to avoid unnecessary costs. For over two decades, MiLEND has helped thousands of home buyers make their American dream come true. Their helpful, licensed loan experts will take the personal approach to getting you approved for a home loan, refinance, reverse mortgage, or any one of their other helpful loan products or services.  Contact MiLEND today

Is a 20% Down Payment on a Home Necessary?

Is a 20% Down Payment on a Home Necessary? 1024 536 Jason Breeland

Is a 20% Down Payment on a Home Necessary?

Buying a home is a big part of your life. It is likely the single largest investment you will make. It is also going to be something you are paying for over the course of many years of your life. So, before you even get started on your house hunting search, is it even necessary to put any money down? Can you just go in, take out a big loan and move in when you are ready? In short, no, some form of down payment is required, but the bigger you can go, the better.

Down Payment Considerations

For simple math, we will say that you are looking at a house that costs $200,000. This is a nice round number that makes it a bit easier to explain what a down payment will do for you and what you should consider when you start looking at how much you want to put down up front. Your lender or bank is taking a big risk on giving you a loan, so a down payment is a form of insurance that is going to make it more likely that you do not default. This is why a higher down payment is generally asked for.

How Much Should Be Put Down

So the root of the question is how much you actually need to put down when taking out a loan. In all honesty, 20% is a good percentage to go with, but that may not be realistic for many buyers. So let us look at the different amounts and the benefits and drawbacks of smaller down payments. If you put down a small amount, say 3%, which is generally the lowest a lender will accept, you will need to also pay for PMI, or private mortgage insurance. This is called an annual premium, but you will be paying it monthly. So, you put down $6,000 towards your loan, but your PMI will be calculated and often cost somewhere around $150 or more. If you put down 20% on the other hand, you won’t need to pay a PMI, so your payment will go towards your monthly premium and interest.

Again, if 20% is too much, try to get as close as possible. A 10% down payment or $20,000 will give you a monthly PMI of under $70. While it is not ideal to have any PMI, as it is essentially wasted money, in the long run, reducing it as much as possible is your best option if you can’t hit the 20% down payment. There are a few other considerations that can come into play, such as FHA insurance. This insurance is paid to the federal government and requires you to pay an upfront premium as well as monthly premiums. Finally, a lower down payment will often cause the lender to charge you fees at closing. If you can’t pay the fees, they may increase the interest rate. So ultimately, the best bet is to pay the 20% down payment where possible. If you can’t, just understand that you are going to be throwing money at your loan that ultimately let you get into a house earlier than you would have otherwise. It is something to consider and there is no right answer, but a 20% down payment is probably your best bet in the long run.

Contact a MiLEND mortgage expert today to discuss the available options you have when making your down payment.

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