Patricia White's Blog
You may have heard the term “escrow” in your experience with real estate. You might know it’s an account, but what exactly does it do for you as a buyer? An escrow account is what your lender uses to make payments on things like property taxes, insurance, and more. The lender collects your monthly mortgage payment, and part of that cash goes into an escrow account.
This type of account is an excellent option for homeowners because your bills relating to being a homeowner will all be paid without you having to do anything. It makes budgeting a breeze because there aren’t any complicated calculations involved. Every month, your lender collects 1/12 of the estimated tax bill and insurance cost for the home. The rest of your mortgage payment covers the principal and interest on the loan of the house.
Are Escrow Accounts Mandatory?
You’ll find that most lenders require you to have an escrow account. The purpose of the account is to keep the home safe as collateral for the loan. The bank has an interest in the proper insurance behind the property. The taxes also need to be paid on time in order to keep the property in good standing. If the taxes aren’t paid, a tax lien will be placed against the house.
Everything In One Place
You’ll receive an annual statement from your lender that will show you how much money was collected and placed in your escrow account. Escrow payments often change because insurance premiums and taxes tend to change quite frequently. The amount being put into escrow may change a few times throughout the year. The lender keeps track of all this for you, saving you some time.
Bills That Need To Be Paid
Whether you have an escrow account or not the bills that are included must be paid one way or another. It’s a good idea to speak with your lender before you buy a home to find out that bank’s procedures around these insurance and tax payments. Property tax and home insurance are items that you’ll need to budget for regardless of how your lender does things. An escrow account can be much more convenient for many buyers.
Escrow is just another one of the many essential terms that you’ll come across as a homebuyer. Knowing the advantages and purpose of the account helps you to be informed as you dive into the home buying process.
If you want to buy a house, it pays to enter the real estate market with a checklist in hand. That way, you can streamline the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.
Now, let's take a look at three things to include in your homebuying checklist.
1. Your Budget
Your budget will dictate whether you're able to afford a condo, luxury home or something in-between. As such, you'll want to assess your finances closely as you determine exactly what type of house that you can afford.
Oftentimes, it helps to get a copy of your credit report. You are eligible to receive one free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). If you know your credit score, you can determine whether now is a good time to enter the real estate market, or whether you should improve your credit score first.
You may want to consult with several banks and credit unions too. These financial institutions can teach you about various mortgage options and help get pre-approved for a mortgage. Then, once you have a mortgage, you'll know exactly how much you can spend on a house and tailor your home search accordingly.
2. Where You Want to Live
Living in the suburbs is very different from residing in the city. Therefore, you'll want to consider where you want to live so that you can search for a home in specific areas.
For example, if you prefer the peace and quiet of a small town, you may want to consider houses in small towns in the state of your choice. These towns may feature dozens of available homes. Plus, in many instances, small town houses are priced lower than big city residences.
Or, if you enjoy the hustle and bustle of the big city, you can search for residences in any city, at any time. These houses likely will ensure that you'll have quick, easy access to a variety of big city attractions and landmarks.
3. Real Estate Agent
There is no telling whether you're about to enter a seller's or buyer's market, as the housing sector often fluctuates. Fortunately, if you hire a real estate agent, you can increase the likelihood of a quick, successful homebuying experience, regardless of the current housing market's conditions.
A real estate agent is committed to your homebuying success and will do what it takes to help you find the right home, at the right price. He or she will learn about your homebuying goals and offer expert insights into the real estate market. Also, if you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, a real estate agent is available to address them.
For those who want to streamline the homebuying process, it helps to hire a real estate agent. And if you hire a real estate agent today, you can get the assistance that you need to make your homeownership dream come true.
Get started on your homebuying checklist, and you can simplify the process of acquiring your ideal residence.
A home showing is a key part of the property buying journey. As such, it helps to plan ahead for a house showing as much as possible. Because if you enter a home showing with a plan in place, you can use this event to help you determine whether a residence is right for you.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get ready for a home showing.
1. Make a List of Questions
A home showing is a valuable learning experience, particularly for a buyer who crafts a list of questions ahead of time. And if a buyer has a list of home showing questions in hand, he or she can gain the necessary insights to make an informed decision about a residence.
Before you make a list of home showing questions, you may want to review a house listing. Then, consider any information that you want to know about a house that is not included in the listing and craft your home showing questions accordingly.
Also, it is important to remember that there is no such thing as a "bad" question to ask during a house showing. If you ask lots of questions during a showing, you can learn about a residence and decide whether to submit an offer to purchase this home.
2. Establish Realistic Expectations
There is no telling how a home showing may turn out. Thus, it is important to plan for the best- and worst-case scenarios.
In the best-case scenario, a buyer will discover his or her ideal residence during a showing. On the other hand, in the worst-case scenario, a buyer will find that a home fails to meet his or her expectations.
Oftentimes, a buyer will need to attend several home showings before he or she discovers the right residence. And if you fail to find your dream residence during your first home showing, there is no harm in continuing your house search and attending other showings in the future.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a homebuying expert, and he or she is happy to help you prepare for a house showing. First, a real estate agent will offer lots of insights into a home and respond to any of your concerns and questions. He or she next will attend a showing with you. After a showing is complete, a real estate agent will meet with you and help you determine the best course of action.
In addition, when you discover your dream home, a real estate agent will do everything possible to ensure you can acquire this residence without delay. A real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to purchase your dream home. Plus, he or she will negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf to help you get the best price on this residence.
Ready to attend a home showing? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can plan for a showing and boost the likelihood of a successful home search.
Searching for the ideal home is an exciting adventure, but it can also be fraught with setbacks, delays, and disappointments. With a little preparation, however, you can avoid many of the potential pitfalls that could happen along the way.
One of the secrets of successful house hunters is to adopt a positive attitude, but temper it with a dose of realism.
Flexibility is also important, but it pays to be steadfast about your absolute requirements, also known as your "must have" list.
To help ensure a successful house hunting experience, here are a few of the key attitudes and qualities that are worth taking inventory of and cultivating.
Persistence: Although it does happen, it's unlikely that the house of your dreams is going to show up at the beginning of your search. As seasoned house hunters know, it's not unusual to have to look at dozens of houses for sale before finding just the right one. But even when you've reached that turning point, there still may be obstacles, hurdles, and challenges to deal with. The perfect example is a bidding war. What if you're all ready to make an offer on the ideal house, but it turns out that one or more other buyers have their sights set on that same house? That can not only be stressful, but it can stretch your housing budget to its outer limits (and beyond)! On one hand, you have to be willing to walk away from a property that would leave you "house poor", but on the other hand, you may want to consider pursuing a real estate deal that's on the high end of your budget, but financially doable. Working with a knowledgeable real estate agent who's a skilled negotiator can help give you an edge when you're confronted with a so-called "bidding war."
Optimism: If you view house hunting as a process which will eventually produce your desired outcome, then you'll be a lot more motivated to go the distance, rather than lower your standards or give up entirely. A positive attitude will help you overcome setbacks, identify workable solutions, and recognize opportunities when they present themselves.
Organization: Whether you prefer the idiom "The devil is in the details" or "God is in the details," the lesson is still the same: Small details can have a big impact. Staying goal-oriented and organized can help propel you forward and avoid frustrations. Knowing your credit score, establishing a realistic housing budget, and scheduling meetings with mortgage lenders will help you stay on course, be prepared, and steer clear of unnecessary delays. It also helps to take notes, create lists, and follow a daily or weekly action plan.
Buying a house is an important priority which can affect the quality of your life in many ways. By staying organized, focused, and positive about your search, your chances of success will be enhanced many times over.
The homebuying process may prove to be challenging, particularly for individuals who fail to anticipate potential problems. Lucky for you, we're here to help you identify and address homebuying hurdles before they escalate.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to ensure you can seamlessly anticipate and overcome homebuying hurdles.
1. Learn About the Housing Market
The real estate market can be complex. Fortunately, an informed homebuyer should have no trouble resolving potential problems early in the property buying journey.
Examine a wide range of housing market data – you'll be glad you did. Look at the prices of recently sold houses – as well as the prices of available residences – in your preferred cities and towns. With this housing market information, you'll be better equipped than ever before to differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's one and plan your homebuying journey accordingly.
2. Get Home Financing
If you intend to pursue a house, you likely will need a mortgage. Thankfully, banks and credit unions are available to help you obtain a mortgage in no time at all.
Ultimately, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you enter the housing market with a mortgage in hand, you can narrow your house search to properties that fall within your price range. And as a result, you could speed up the process of finding and buying your dream house.
When you meet with lenders, don't hesitate to ask lots of questions, either. If you allocate time and resources to learn about all of your home financing options, you can determine exactly which option is right for you.
3. Employ a Real Estate Agent
There is no need to pursue a house on your own, regardless of whether you're an experienced or first-time property buyer. But if you employ a real estate agent, you can work with a homebuying expert who can help you make your homeownership dream come true.
A real estate agent understands what it takes to find a great house at an affordable price. He or she can teach you about the housing market and help you make informed decisions at each stage of the property buying journey. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent can prepare you for potential homebuying hurdles and ensure you can quickly address these issues.
Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent provides as the homebuying journey progresses as well. A real estate agent will set up home showings, help you weigh the pros and cons of different houses and ensure you can submit an offer to purchase your dream residence. And as you approach the date of your home closing, a real estate agent will offer tips and recommendations to ensure you can finalize your house purchase without delay.
Want to avoid homebuying hurdles? You're not alone. But with the aforementioned tips, you can identify and overcome various homebuying hurdles and effortlessly navigate the property buying journey.