O-oh say can you see, real estate news that sparkles?Let's party like it's 1776!
Summer and the feeling of “getting back to normal” have arrived! If you are planning on taking a vacation from finding your happy place…hang in there!
Today’s sellers’ market provides unique challenges—and benefits—for buyers and sellers. Current low-interest rates won’t last forever, and home prices are forecast to rise. Homeownership improves your quality of life, and the long-term benefits outweigh the short-term challenges.
Cool off while reading more about the benefits of a VA loan, new FHA loan eligibility guidelines that make it easier to qualify with student loan debt, and fire safety tips to keep everyone smiling this summer.
And as always, if you have any questions or want to talk more about our local real estate and mortgage market, I am just a phone call or text away.
Take On a Competitive Market with a VA Loan
Low housing inventory means homeowners are flooded with multiple offers. With the VA Loan, though, veterans and active-duty service members have benefits that can give you an edge.
One myth about VA loans is that the appraisal and closing process is tougher, but it’s not really true. The main difference is that fixer-uppers are not allowed – the home must be in safe, sound, and sanitary condition.
It helps to choose a REALTOR® who has solid experience helping military clients, as they’ll know which homes for sale today to avoid. I work with several, so ask me for a referral!
You may have heard that VA loans have higher credit standards. Again, not true. If you’ve had a bankruptcy or foreclosure in your past, the VA loan is actually much more forgiving in that the waiting period is shorter before you can get a new loan – only 2 years post-foreclosure or Chapter 7 bankruptcy (vs. 3 and 7 years for conventional loans) and as little as 12 months for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Talk to me if this is in your history.
Perhaps the most well-known benefit of the VA loan is the 0% down payment requirement. This lets you preserve cash. Having cash gives you options, which gives you a leg up on other buyers bidding on a home you want.
VA loans also include the VA funding fee – a one-time payment that may range from 1.4% to 3.6% for a purchase or construction loan. However, a little-known fact is that this fee can be paid upfront or rolled into the loan amount, and if you have available cash to use as a down payment, you can reduce it significantly by putting either 5% or 10% down. There are also exemptions to the VA funding fee (for veterans with a service-related disability or those who have received the Purple Heart).
Another myth is that service members deployed overseas cannot buy a home remotely or meet the occupancy requirement.
Military members stationed overseas can use a Power of Attorney (POA) to appoint a spouse or someone else to handle the VA loan transaction, including signing! A spouse can meet the occupancy rule (moving in within 60 days), or you can get an extension of up to 12 months to occupy the home. There are a few details, so contact me for more info if this is your situation.
Remember, loan limits were eliminated for most VA loan borrowers last year, letting you bid on just about any house you can qualify for!
The VA loan advantage can be beneficial in today’s competitive market. If you’re a Veteran or active service member, I can help you with the right strategy, so contact me today.
The smart way to home shop.
Get pre-approved for a mortgage today!
If you’re considering buying a house, you’re probably wondering how much you can afford. The last thing you want is to fall in love with a house that ends up being out of your budget. Or even worse, to seal the deal on a house you can’t comfortably afford.
Many online calculators claim that they can tell you how much you can afford, but for most homebuyers, what they end up qualifying for is often less (or different) than what their calculator guessed. So what’s a more accurate way to figure out your budget? Getting a pre-approval letter from an actual mortgage lender.
New Student Loan Guidelines Make It Easier to Get a Mortgage
It’s graduation season, and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is saying “hats off” to the grads with positive changes to the way they calculate student loan debt and mortgages.
FHA just announced new rules about how student loan payments should be considered when buying or refinancing a home. If you were previously turned down for a home loan or told you could not qualify due to a student loan payment, let’s talk. These new rules may help you qualify for the home you are dreaming about!
Stay informed. Stay financially healthy.
Schedule your Annual Mortgage Review
You have checkups every year for your health, your pets, and your vehicles – now we recommend one for your finances and homes, too!
What’s a Mortgage Review?
I will work with you and review your monthly payment in detail, including your credit, mortgage insurance (if applicable), and income. Next, we’ll discuss any available options. During your mortgage review, you might discover opportunities to give you greater financial flexibility and help you save!
Grilling Up Summer Safety
Grilling, fire pits, and bonfires are all favorites during the summer months — who doesn’t love roasting marshmallows after a fun day in the pool or on the lake? Keep in mind, though, that these can be dangerous if not handled properly. So here are a few essential grilling safety tips to ensure the fire stays where it belongs.
- Keep your fire pit or grill at least 10 feet away from flammable materials.
- Never leave a fire unattended.
- Keep pets and children at least three feet away from the fire.
- Fully extinguish the fire before going in for the night.
- Don’t start a fire under overhanging tree limbs or eaves.
- Keep a fire extinguisher, water, and first aid kit on hand.
- Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
- Keep the grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and trays below the grill.
- Use battery-operated flameless candles and solar-powered patio torches in place of an open flame.
- The best place to store any flammable liquid is a well-ventilated area outside. Ensure that the seal is tight and the container stored upright on a level surface for ideal fire safety.
Walkthroughs can easily be overlooked if you’ve lived in your home for quite some time. But I suggest taking 20 minutes to do this each season — you won’t regret it when you find that small issue that could be harmful to your children or pets!
Happy Birthday, America!
Fourth of July weekend is a favorite for many (including me!), and I’m excited for the return of in-person celebrations for America’s 245th Birthday. I’ve rounded up some helpful links highlighting New England events and celebrations for the whole family to enjoy this 4th of July!
MA Fireworks Display Schedule
RI Fireworks and Parades
CT Fireworks Display Schedule
NH Fireworks and Parades
ME Fireworks and Celebrations
Wishing you and yours a fun-filled, relaxing holiday weekend.
Spring 2022: History Offers Perspective on Interest Rates
By Brian HuntonNow that Spring is here, everyone is buzzing about the real estate market. The media loves to sensationalize things, and the real estate market is no exception. If you listen to the headlines these days, it's easy to get spooked out of the housing market. While it's true that there are currently fewer homes on the market than...
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By Brian Hunton Happy New Year! I want to reach out to everyone here and just give you a little bit of a market update and a where we are presently, where we're expecting to go, and some guidance on those things. I'm not going to make this super technical cause I know that's boring. So I just want to give you a quick rundown. The bottom line...
Are we headed for a real estate crash?
Let's face it—today's housing market is still red hot. Low mortgage rates, stable home prices, and a competitive buyer's landscape have given sellers an edge.The current market's success has led many to question the long-term impacts of where we are. I hear our friends and family typically ask one of the following: Are we in a real estate...