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Preview: Kalispell Montana Real Estate

Kalispell Montana Real Estate

Updated: 2016-06-15T15:51:37.329-07:00


8 Tips For First Time Homebuyers


8 TIPS FOR FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYERSBuying your first home is like life's other firsts: exciting even romantic and a little bit scary as you wade into new waters. You can ease the process and avoid being ripped off by knowing these eight pointsbefore you take another move toward home ownership. 1. KNOW THY AGENT: Will Rogers, the great American cowboy wit, said "I've never met a man I didn't like." It's the same with real estate agents. I've never met one that wasn't friendly, smiling and brimming over with positiveness. Dig deeper to know what you're getting in terms of loyalty, knowledge and experience. The right agent is a tremendous help and often a necessity when it comes to finding the right house. Get references from family, friends and colleagues. Ask to see their activity lists. These show every property they sold during the past year. You want an agent who's experienced in the area where you want to live and who deals with buyers in your price range. A seller's agent works for and gives complete allegiance to the seller; a buyer's agent does the same for the buyer. Most states require agents to tell the buyer for whom they're working. Even in the rush of househunting make sure you find out this important piece of information. A buyer's agent will point out rather than gloss over any flaws with the house or neighborhood, help you negotiate a good deal, explain your other options and be unquestionably on your side. BY LAW, A REALTOR HAS TO WORK FOR THE SELLER IF NO BUYER AGENCY IS SIGNED! Tip: The cost will be the same whether you use the seller's agent or get a buyer's agent: The two agents will split the commission. 2. DON'T GO OVERBOARD: Buy only what you can afford. Everyone can agree that a four-bedroom, three-bathroom house in mint condition on three lushly landscaped acres with a pool has more appeal than a two-bedroom, one-bath on a small lot. But there's nothing worse than winding up with such a big monthly payment that you've nothing left over for a vacation, the kids' camp or your retirement. A good rule of thumb: Your total monthly debts, including your mortgage, should not exceed 36 percent of your income before taxes. Remember that your mortgage payment is only one aspect of what you'll be paying. Budget for homeowner's insurance, property taxes, furniture, general maintenance and so on. 3. PICK THE RIGHT MORTGAGE: Mortgages are available from banks, mortgage companies and credit unions. You can also get one through a mortgage broker, who will contact several lenders for you to find competitive rates. Get mortgage information from more than one source, and get the same information from each so you can compare the offers. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends that in addition to finding out the basic interest rate you ask each lender: 1. Is the rate fixed or adjustable? When interest rates rise, monthly payments for adjustable-rate loans eventually go up, too. 2. What is the loan's annual percentage rate (APR)? This includes the interest rate, points, broker fees and any credit charges you may have to pay, expressed as a yearly rate. 3. What will points be in dollars? Points are fees paid to the lender or broker for the loan. Ask each potential lender for a quote in the dollar amount (rather than just the number of points) so you'll know how much you will have to pay. 4. Is private mortgage insurance (PMI) required? If you make less than a 20 percent down payment, the lender will probably require you to purchase PMI, which protects the lender in case you fail to pay. Find out the exact monthly amount and how long you will be required to carry PMI. You will also have to choose between a 30-year or 15-year mortgage. A 30-year mortgage will mean lower monthly payments but a higher interest rate. In the long run, you'll be paying more for your house because you'll be making more interest payments. With a 15-year mortgage, the monthly bill will be higher but the interest rate lower; thus you'll pay less for your house because it will be paid off in a shorter period of time. Have each lender provide yo[...]

Kalispell Montana Real Estate


5 Powerful Buying Strategies1. Don't Get "Pre-Qualified!Do you want to get the best house you can for the least amount ofmoney? Then make sure you are in the strongest negotiating positionpossible. Price is only one bargaining chip in the negotiations, andnot necessarily the most important one. Often other terms, such as the strength of the buyer or the length of escrow, are critical to aseller. In years past, I always recommended that buyers get "pre-qualified" by a lender. This means that you spend a few minutes onthe phone with a lender who asks you a few questions. Based on theanswers, the lender pronounces you "pre-qualified" and issues acertificate that you can show to a seller. Sellers are aware thatsuch certificates are WORTHLESS, and here's why! None of theinformation has been verified! Oftentimes-unknown problems surface!Some of the problems I've seen include recorded judgments, childsupport payments due, glitches on the credit report due to any number of reasons both accurately and inaccurately, down payments that have not been in the clients' bank account long enough, etc. So the way to make a strong offer today is to get "pre-approved". This happens AFTER all information has been checked and verified. You are actually APPROVED for the loan and the only loose end is the appraisal on the property. This process takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on your situation. It's VERY POWERFUL and a weapon I recommend all my clients have in their negotiating arsenal.2. Sell First, Then BuyIf you have a house to sell, sell it before selecting a house to buy!I haven't seen a contingent sale work in the last 3 years, unless it'swith a new home builder who has other houses to sell and can afford to put one on a contingency. Let's pretend that we go out looking forthe perfect house for you. We find it and you love it! Now you have to go make an offer to the seller. You want the seller to reduce theprice and wait until you sell your house. The seller figures that's arisky deal, since he might pass up a buyer who DOESN'T have to sell a house while he's waiting for you. So he says OK, he'll do thecontingency but it has to be a full price offer! So you see, you paidmore for the house than you could have because of the contingency.Now you have to sell your existing house, and in a hurry! Otherwiseyou lose the dream house! So to sell quickly you might take an offerthat's lower than if you had more time. The bottom line is that buyingbefore selling might cost you TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars. I always recommend that you sell first, then buy. If you're concerned that there is not a house on the market for you, then go on a window-shopping trip. You can identify possible houses and locations withoutfalling in love with a specific house. If you feel confident afterthat then put your house on the market. Another tactic is to make the sale "subject to seller finding suitable housing". Adding this phraseto the listing means that WHEN YOU DO FIND A BUYER, you will have sometime to find the new place. If you don't find anything to your liking, you don't have to sell your present home.3. Play the Game of NinesBefore house hunting, make a list of nine things you want in the newplace. Then make a list of the nine things you don't want. I call this"NINE OF THIS AND NONE OF THAT". You can use this list as a scorecard to rate each property that you see. The one with the biggest score wins! This helps avoid confusion and keeps things in perspective when you're comparing dozens of homes. When house hunting, keep in mind the difference between "SKIN AND BONES". The BONES are things that cannot be changed such as the location, view, size of lot, noise in the area, school district, and floor plan. The SKIN represents easily changed surface finishes like carpet, wallpaper, color, and window coverings. Buy the house with good BONES, because the SKIN can always be changed to match your tastes. I always recommend that you imagine each house as if it were vacant. Consider each house on its underlying merits, [...]