Haven Realty's Blog
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Most are familiar with the key components of a mortgage: how much you're borrowing, what your interest rate is, how many years you'll be paying your mortgage back. There are many, however, who do not understand some of the finer details, including what prepayment penalties are and how they may affect you when you're buying or selling a home.
What are Prepayment Penalties?
In the simplest terms, a prepayment penalty may apply if you pay off your mortgage early. Prepaying can mean either making additional payments that bring down your balance quicker, refinancing your mortgage, or selling the home and therefore paying off the balance of the loan. The reason banks apply these penalties is to recoup some of their lost revenue when years of interest are not collected due to an early payoff.
Not all mortgages come with penalties and those that do often specify when and how the penalties will apply. For example, many borrowers will not be penalized if the prepayment results from selling the home, but will apply from refinancing or from making additional payments. Others have a limit to how much can be paid early via additional payments during any given year. It's also common for prepayment penalties to only apply during the first several years.
Avoiding the Harshest Penalties
For first-time mortgage applicants, it pays to take the time to find your lender before you choose a home. That way, you'll have plenty of time to read all the documentation, ask questions, and consult an attorney to ensure you're getting terms you can agree to in good faith. Keep in mind, however, that mortgage contracts are not final until you've selected a home and have documents drawn up specifically for that purchase. You may want to have an attorney present during the closing to make sure all the final paperwork matches your expectations.
For sellers, it's best to understand whether prepayment penalties will apply long before contemplating the sale of your home. However, if you missed the opportunity to do your due diligence when signing the mortgage documents, it's not too late. Start by talking with your lender to understand which, if any, penalties you may be subject to. If the penalties are steep enough, now may not be the best time to sell or you may want to keep these expenses in mind when pricing your home. Others may be able to port their mortgage to a new home, or transfer it to a new property to avoid penalties.
No matter which side of the deal you are on, a qualified real estate agent can help you navigate the process to make sure you're getting the most from the arrangement while also working around tricky situations. To learn more or to get started, feel free to send in your inquiries, so we can get started on your homebuying or home selling journey today.
Listing a house may seem like a long, arduous process, especially for a first-time home seller. But with the right real estate agent at your side, you can receive expert support at each stage of the home selling journey.
What does it take to hire a diligent real estate agent to ensure you can sell your house? Here are three tips to help first-time home sellers employ the ideal real estate agent.
1. Conduct a Comprehensive Search
Search far and wide for a real estate agent – you'll be glad you did. With an extensive search, you can learn about the pros and cons of working with various real estate agents in your area and plan accordingly.
Don't hesitate to reach out to friends and family members for real estate agent recommendations. If friends and family members enjoyed outstanding experiences with certain real estate agents, it may be a great idea to contact the housing professionals who have helped your loved ones achieve their home selling goals.
Also, look for real estate agents who boast many years of industry experience. These housing market professionals are likely to understand the ins and outs of selling a residence. As such, they may be better equipped than other real estate agents to help you optimize the value of your house.
2. Ask Plenty of Questions
If you find a real estate agent who seems like a viable candidate to help you sell your residence, it is important to set up a face-to-face meeting. That way, you can ask questions and determine whether this individual is the right person to assist you.
During a face-to-face meeting, find out what a real estate agent has to say about your residence. Typically, a diligent real estate agent will conduct extensive research before meeting with you and should be able to offer honest, unbiased home selling recommendations.
Furthermore, there is no such thing as a "bad" question, especially for those who are selling a house for the first time. And if you have questions for a real estate agent, a face-to-face meeting provides an excellent opportunity to get your queries addressed by a housing market expert.
3. Get Client Referrals
Ask real estate agents for client referrals. Then, reach out to past clients so you can better understand how a particular real estate agent has supported home sellers over the years.
If a client offers glowing recommendations of a real estate agent, this housing market professional may prove to be the best choice. On the other hand, a client who encountered problems with a particular real estate agent may help you avoid making the wrong decision as well.
Ultimately, the right real estate agent is someone who can help you sell your house and keep you informed as the home selling journey moves forward. And if you spend some time learning about the real estate agents in your city or town, you should have no trouble employing a top-notch real estate agent who can take the guesswork out of selling your residence.
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What happens if you receive an offer on your home that fails to meet your expectations? Ultimately, you may want to decline the offer. But before you do, there are several questions you'll want to consider, including:
1. Is the offer "fair"?
Let's face it – one home seller's definition of a "fair" offer may differ from another's. However, an informed home seller will be able to differentiate a "lowball" offer from a strong proposal.
A lowball offer typically fails to account for a home's condition and the current state of the housing market. As such, this proposal may fall far below a home seller's initial asking price.
On the other hand, a strong proposal may meet or surpass a home seller's initial asking price. This offer likely accounts for a home's strengths and weaknesses, along with the needs of a both the homebuyer and home seller.
2. Are there any other offers on the table?
If you receive an offer on your home, you'll probably have one to two days to decide how to proceed. And if you have multiple offers in hand, you likely have a lot to think about in a short period of time.
In some cases, the best offer is not necessarily the highest offer, and for good reason.
For instance, a homebuyer may submit an offer on a home that exceeds a home seller's initial asking price. But if this homebuyer has not been pre-approved for a mortgage, he or she likely will need to obtain financing to proceed with a home purchase.
Conversely, a homebuyer who has been pre-approved for a mortgage knows exactly how much money is at his or her disposal. When this homebuyer submits an offer, he or she may be better equipped than other homebuyers to acquire a residence.
3. Can I afford to be patient?
Consider your timeline as you debate whether to decline an offer.
If you're in no rush to sell your home, you can afford to be patient with offers on your house. Or, if you want to relocate to a new address as soon as possible, you should price your home aggressively from the get-go.
4. If I decline an offer, what will happen next?
After you decline an offer on your home, the homebuyer has the option to submit a new proposal or move on to other houses.
As a home seller, it is important to take an informed approach to home offers. With a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble making the best decisions on any proposals.
A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the housing market and can help you evaluate all offers on your residence. He or she can provide you with honest, unbiased real estate recommendations and ensure you can get the best results during the home selling journey.
Collaborate with a real estate agent – you'll be glad you did. A real estate agent will enable you to evaluate home proposals and maximize the value of your house.
As a homebuyer, it is paramount to establish realistic expectations for the homebuying journey. That way, you can take a step-by-step approach to achieve various goals along this journey and acquire your ideal residence faster than ever before.
Setting realistic homebuying expectations can be simple. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you set realistic homebuying expectations.
1. Assess Your Home Must-Haves and Wants
Dozens of homes are available in cities and towns nationwide. If you establish realistic homebuying expectations, you may be better equipped than others to determine exactly what you want to find in your dream house. As a result, you could reap the benefits of a quick, seamless homebuying experience.
Oftentimes, it helps to create a list of home must-haves and wants prior to searching for a house. This list can be updated as you proceed along the homebuying journey and will serve as a guide to help you discover your ideal residence.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
With a mortgage in hand, you can narrow your home search to residences that fall within your price range. Then, you can speed up the homebuying journey and find your ideal residence in no time at all.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you'll want to meet with banks and credit unions. These financial institutions generally offer a broad array of mortgage options. Examine all of your mortgage options closely, and you're sure to find a mortgage that matches your finances.
Also, don't hesitate to ask mortgage questions when you meet with potential lenders. Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who are happy to help you in any way they can. Thus, you can gain expert insights from these mortgage specialists that could help you make an informed mortgage decision.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent understands what it takes to purchase a home in any housing market. Therefore, he or she can help you prepare for the real estate market and establish realistic homebuying expectations from day one.
Typically, a real estate agent first will learn about your homebuying goals. He or she then will help you map out a successful homebuying journey, one that concludes with you discovering your dream house at a budget-friendly price.
A real estate agent offers plenty of support at each stage of the homebuying journey too. This housing market professional will set up home showings, keep you updated about new residences that become available and help you evaluate houses. And if you want to submit an offer on a home, a real estate agent will make it easy for you to put together a competitive homebuying proposal.
Achieving the optimal results during the homebuying journey sometimes can be difficult. But if you establish realistic homebuying expectations, you may be able to streamline the homebuying journey and ensure that you can purchase a great house that suits you perfectly.