Posts Tagged ‘first time buyers’

What Every First Time Home Buyer in Harrisburg PA Should Know

What Every First Time Home Buyer in Harrisburg PA Should Know  Buying a home is one of the largest financial commitments a person can make in his or her lifetime. It’s especially critical for first-time home buyers to make informed decisions about the investment that they are about to make.

 

As a Real Estate Professional I offer these tips to first-time homebuyers to help make the process easier.

 

Define your wants versus your needs.

Making a list of wants and needs before beginning the search for a home can make the entire process less overwhelming and more enjoyable for first time buyers.

 

Get pre-approved for a mortgage

It is critical that a first time buyer be pre-approved for a mortgage before going too far in the home-buying process. This enables the buyer to make a very appealing offer to the seller and increases the buyer’s chances of having his or her offer accepted.

First Time Home Buyers on Moving Day

 

Investigate the neighborhood.

Where are the schools? How far is the nearest hospital or grocery store? Is commercial garbage collection available, or do homeowners dispose of their own trash? These are basic yet important questions that some first time buyers may not think of until after closing on a property.

 

Insist on a home inspection.

Attend property inspections. Be aware of environmental concerns, and ask questions.

 

Get help with the details.

Coordinating these and the many details of a move can be overwhelming for even the most experienced homebuyer. I can help guide you through the process and even coordinate related services. Contact me to represent you through the entire first time home buyers process. 717 514-1793 or Ken@KensHomesales.com

Harrisburg PA Real Estate Expert

Ken Huebsch is your premier real estate agent in the Greater Harrisburg area.  I am a specialist in Harrisburg real estate  as well as the communities of Palmyra, Hershey, and Hummelstown.  My wife Leslye and I have a combined 40 plus years experience serving our clients -We KNOW Harrisburg. When you plan to buy or sell Harrisburg area real estate, allow us to work for you.  We are dedicated professionals and are here for your success.  For more information on how we can best serve your real estate needs, please complete our online contact form or give us a call.  Also, check out what our fabulous clients have to say about us on our testimonials page!

Cell: 717 514-1793
email: mailto:Ken@KensHomesales.com

presented by KensHomesales.com

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Buyer Resources for Buying a House in Harrisburg PA

Buyer Resources for Buying a House in Harrisburg PA

The home buying process is exciting, but serious enough to deserve special attention and preparation. There is more to it than searching for the right home. For buying a house, you’ll need to consider neighborhoods, schools, market values, the condition of the home, various inspections, your mortgage, title insurance, property insurance, and of course closing. Even experienced buyers can find this complex process a bit overwhelming. Don’t worry. I’m here to help. I will guide you every step of the way. You can use this site to help educate yourself on the process of buying a house. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you might have about buying a house. I’m happy to help you.

 

 

Is this a good time for buying a house?

YES! It is an excellent time to purchase your next home. Interest rates are at historical lows giving you more purchasing power. Due to increased cost of land development and home construction, prices are lower today than what they will be tomorrow. If you are looking to purchase a home, you may have an opportunity to purchase more home for the money if you act now. For example, if home values increase 5% over the next year, a $100,000 house will be $105,000, a $300,000 home will now be $315,000. Plus, interest rates could be higher which would increase your mortgage payments even more. It’s also a good time to sell. There are ample buyers to purchase homes that are priced correctly, staged appropriately, and properly marketed. I can help guide you through the home buying and home selling process.

 

What is a buyer’s agent and why do I need one for buying a house?

A buyer’s agent is a licensed Realtor whose loyalty and fiduciary responsibility is to the buyer. A buyer’s agent can more fully advise buyers in all areas of the home buying process including proper handling of contract negotiations. As your buyer’s agent I will:

  • Explain steps and costs in advance
  • Guide you – so you’re prepared
  • Conduct home searches for you
  • Show you available homes
  • Advise you about market conditions, pricing, and financing
  • Represent you in negotiations with Sellers, Lenders, Appraisers,
    Inspectors, Insurers, etc.
  • Manage your transaction – Mortgage, Insurances, Inspections,
    Repairs, Warranties, dozens of other details
  • Accompany you at final inspection and closing

If you’re not a represented buyer, by law, a Realtor can’t advocate for you. Contact me at n717 514-1793 and we will review Pennsylvania’s Consumer Notice which explains the ways a real estate agent can represent you.


Should I get pre-approved for a mortgage before buying a house?

It’s certainly a good idea. You can apply for either pre-qualification or a pre-approval. A pre-qualification is an informal opinion from a lender. A pre-approval is a more formal written approval for you stating that you qualify for up to a specific mortgage and interest rate. A pre-approval requires more data from you but offers the following benefits:

  • Sellers will look at you as a stronger buyer. If the seller has more than one offer, this could help yours be more attractive.
  • You have a definite picture of what you can reasonably afford. You won’t waste your time inspecting homes you can’t buy.

I can help you find a reputable lender who will provide you with a pre-qualification or pre-approval


Can I preview my credit and correct mistakes before buying a house?

ABSOLUTELY! It is surprising how many credit reports are wrong . . . over 40% by some estimates! You may avoid de-railing your transaction with a time-consuming credit hassle by reviewing the report up front. You can order a copy of your own credit report by calling the three major credit reporting agencies: Experian at (888) 397-3742, Equifax at (800) 685-1111 and Trans Union at (800) 888-4213. Or, you can call the Annual Credit Report Request Service at 1-877-322-8228 for a free credit report from all three of the above sources. Understanding a credit report can be very complicated. I can help you with this process by connecting you with a loan officer who is an expert in this area.


How do I go about buying a house,  if I have to sell my existing home first?

Most of us cannot afford two mortgage payments; we need to sell our current home before completing the purchase of our next home. In a marketplace where there is a good supply of homes for sale, it’s probably best to market your home successfully first. Then you enter the marketplace as a stronger buyer. None the less, you may find your next home prior to marketing your current home. I can help you choose from several different options in this case so that you can still have your dream home and avoid a double payment situation.


Should I have the home inspected before buying a house?

In most cases, a property is purchased in its present condition! Many buyers are surprised to find that if a problem arises after settlement, the problem is theirs. As a buyer, you should consider hiring a home inspector who is trained to look for defects. The most common types of home inspections are general house inspection, wood destroying pest and organisms (termite) inspection, radon inspection, on-site septic inspection, and on-site water inspection. When you are ready to make an offer on a home, I’ll explain the different types of inspections you may wish to have. I can recommend a home inspector if you’d like help finding someone.


Should I buy a home warranty when buying a house?

There are reasons to purchase a home warranty, and there are circumstances where a home warranty may be less important. What I can tell you is that 75% of home buyers use their home warranty within the first year. The initial term of a home warranty is one year. Thereafter, renewals can be purchased. Some sellers provide home warranties as part of the sale. Under those circumstances the home warranty is included in the sale. I can help you determine if a home warranty is a good investment for you.


How do I go about making an offer when buying a house?

You may want to make your offer subject to certain terms or contingencies, including securing financing, the sale of your current home, or inspections. I can help you understand your options and responsibilities. As a skilled negotiator, I am able to represent your best interests when speaking to the seller’s agent.


When should I get homeowner’s insurance.. before or after buying a house?

It’s important to begin looking for homeowner’s insurance as soon as the agreement of sale has been accepted. Not all insurance companies insure all types of properties. For example, some carriers won’t insure a property with a flat roof, others do. If you wait too long to find insurance and run into any difficulties, you may not be able to get insurance in time and this may negatively impact your ability to close.


What is title insurance and  do I need it when buying a house?

Imagine one of these nightmares:

  • An ex-spouse of the 3rd prior owner claims a continuing interest in your home because he/she did not sign off on the deed 10 years ago.
  • A Lender to the 2nd prior owner asserts a claim that their loan was not paid off when the property was sold 6 years ago and they want their money.

A title insurance provider seeks to discover these “defects” by searching public records about the property. They also provide you with insurance – if they missed something, they step up to handle your defense and cover your costs. Also, your lender will require that you provide title insurance from a reputable company at settlement. I can recommend a title insurance provider for you prior to buying a house.


Understand the seller’s list price before buying a house

Many factors influence the price that a seller expects to get for their home. While only you can decide how much you feel comfortable offering for a property, I can gather critical information for you regarding the factors that impact how much you should consider paying for the home. These factors include:

  • How long the home has been on the market
  • If the price has been reduced
  • The prices for other comparable homes in the area
  • If there are multiple offers being communicated
  • Other items that might be included in the sale – furniture, hot tub, etc.
  • The number of homes that are on the market and the amount of time it’s taking them to sell
  • Whether the seller is offering buyer incentives


What are closing costs when buying a house?

Closing costs are fees and expenses paid in conjunction with the purchase of your home. The amount of your closing costs will depend on your transaction and your lender. If you obtain a mortgage, the lender will collect a credit and appraisal fee and may charge you loan origination fees and document preparation fees. Should you use a low down payment, the lender may require you to pay for mortgage insurance. Your lender will require title insurance. Title insurance is based upon the sales price of the home. Your settlement company will collect notary and recording fees. If you haven’t paid your homeowner’s insurance premium prior to the closing, this will be an expense at closing. Transfer taxes can range depending on the municipality in which you are purchasing. In most of South Central and Southeastern Pennsylvania, the transfer tax is 2% of the sale price. Typically, the buyer pays half of this tax. Real estate taxes are typically pro-rated, reimbursing the seller for the taxes they have pre-paid. Depending upon the mortgage program, you may be required to start an escrow account with the lender for future taxes. In some cases, sellers have agreed to pay part or most of their buyer’s closing costs. I can help you understand these costs and can provide suggestions to reduce your closing costs. In addition to my suggestions, you will be receiving closing cost estimates when you submit your offer for buying a house, and when you apply for your mortgage. This is all done so that you know what to expect at the closing.


What happens at the closing when buying a house?

The terms “real estate settlement” and “closing” mean the same. It is the meeting where the seller conveys the ownership of the property to the buyer. A settlement officer, either a title company representative or the buyer’s attorney, will conduct the closing. Many papers need to be reviewed, signed, notarized and witnessed. Among the documents you will be asked to sign is the mortgage, the mortgage note, other lender documents, buyer’s affidavit, utility cards, etc. Once you’ve paid your down payment and closing costs and the seller has signed the deed, you will become the official owner of your new home. I’ll walk you through what to expect at settlement and answer any questions you may have.

Harrisburg PA Real Estate Expert

Ken Huebsch is your premier real estate agent in the Greater Harrisburg area.  I am a specialist in Harrisburg real estate  as well as the communities of Palmyra, Hershey, and Hummelstown.  My wife Leslye and I have a combined 40 plus years experience serving our clients -We KNOW Harrisburg. When you plan to buy or sell Harrisburg area real estate, allow us to work for you.  We are dedicated professionals and are here for your success.  For more information on how we can best serve your real estate needs, please complete our online contact form or give us a call.  Also, check out what our fabulous clients have to say about us on our testimonials page!

Cell: 717 514-1793
email: mailto:Ken@KensHomesales.com

Four Reasons to Buy a Home this Year

Four Reasons to Buy a Home this Year

Affordability returns to housing, and buyers have loads of negotiating power!

CHICAGO (MarketWatch) — People are afraid to buy a home in times like these, with the economy tanking and home prices continuing to fall. But if you’re brave enough to stray from the herd, you might be in for the home-buying opportunity of a lifetime.

Ask for price reductions, improvements, closing costs — whatever — and the seller, desperately trying to get a contract, is very likely to work with you, said Jay Papasan, one of the authors of the book “Your First Home.” When the market starts improving, your negotiating power starts to diminish, he added.

“People can get a lot of what they need and almost all of what they want today,” Papasan said. “Once a few people get off the fence, there’s safety in numbers and you lose your leverage.”

If you’re qualified to buy a home now, the purchase makes sense for your situation and you’re prepared to live in that home for at least five years, there are four reasons why you may be headed for a great deal:

1. Affordability is better than ever

According to the National Association of Realtors’ housing affordability index, homes were more affordable in December than at any other point since the group started the index in 1970. The affordability index is a measure of the relationship between home prices, mortgage interest rates and family income.

John and Julie Chilman, for example, recently have been able to stretch their dollars in the Las Vegas area. The listing price for the five-bedroom home they’re buying was $265,000; they offered $250,000.

“Our Realtor was like ‘Yeah, pipe dream. Like they’re going to take that,'” John Chilman said. “And all they did was counter $255,000… and they’re paying all closing costs.” The home had lingered on the market, and was listed for $310,000 just six months ago, he said.

According to data from earlier this month, prices had fallen 50.7% in Las Vegas from their peak and were about where they were in the second quarter of 2002, according to data from Clear Capital, a real estate valuation and data provider for banks and investment firms.

A recent report from Moody’s Economy.com predicted that house prices will stabilize by the end of this year, even though the Case-Shiller house price index will fall another 11% from the fourth quarter of 2008. By the end of the real-estate downturn, prices will have fallen by double digits, from peak to trough, in almost 62% of the nation’s 381 metro areas, according to the report. In 10% of the areas, declines will be more than 30%.

Not all markets have experienced huge drops, however, so it’s wise to take a look at how far prices have fallen in your area. The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight’s Web site has a house price calculator that can help.

2. You have a large inventory to choose from

In many places it is taking months to sell a home, creating loads of inventory — from new homes to existing homes to foreclosures.

There was a 9.6-month supply of unsold existing homes in January given that month’s sales pace, according to NAR. For new homes, the inventory hit a 13.3-month supply at the end of January, according to the Commerce DepartmentA large selection gives buyers more choices and drives down prices. And home sellers have gotten the picture.  

It’s fair to say that home sellers have become “increasingly desperate,” Papasan said. “People who have had for-sale signs in the yard for six months are starting to become in tune with the reality of the situation,” he said. Buyers can take advantage.

But if you put off a purchase until inventory shrinks substantially, you might not get as good a price, said Eddie Fadel, author of the book “Don’t Rent, Buy!” And be forewarned: It’s nearly impossible to time the exact bottom of the housing market and even if you do there’s no guarantee you’ll make a killing.

“You buy for quality of life… don’t buy on speculation,” said Duane Andrews, CEO of Clear Capital. “I wouldn’t buy a home expecting the housing market to rebound quickly in the next 10 years,” he said, adding that he expects moderate gains in values when the turnaround does happen.

Historically, real estate appreciates about 5% a year over the long term, said Nancy Flint-Budde, a Salem, N.Y.-based certified financial planner. But as the country crawls out of a recession, many markets probably won’t see huge home-price gains any time soon.

3. Builders are offering big discounts

Home builders are getting even more aggressive with their pricing.

In fact, Fadel recommends looking at completed new homes first because builders are offering such steep discounts. Plus, you’d have a warranty not only on the home itself, but also on the home’s appliances, he said.

“[Builders] want to save their credit, save their brand, save their reputation and clear out inventory,” he said. “They can go buy cheap land today with that cash.”

4. Mortgage rates are historically low

It’s not just the price of the home that will affect affordability; mortgage terms will also affect your monthly payments. These days, rates are very attractive for conforming loans, those that can be purchased by mortgage agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (The current limit is $417,000, although that can rise as high as $729,750 in high-cost markets.)

Earlier this year, rates on the popular 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hit a level not seen in decades, and rates have stayed relatively near that low for weeks. This week, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.07%, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage survey.

But low rates don’t mean lenders are handing out mortgages easily. You’ll need good credit, a substantial down payment and a willingness to document your income in order to qualify for those great rates, if you can qualify at all.

For detailed advice from someone that will bring you 20years of experience to play on, call me now at 717 514-1793 or email me at Ken@KensHomesales.com

 

Harrisburg PA Real Estate Expert

Ken Huebsch is your premier real estate agent in the Greater Harrisburg area.  I am a specialist in Harrisburg real estate  as well as the communities of Palmyra, Hershey, and Hummelstown.  My wife Leslye and I have a combined 40 plus years experience serving our clients -We KNOW Harrisburg. When you plan to buy or sell Harrisburg area real estate, allow us to work for you.  We are dedicated professionals and are here for your success.  For more information on how we can best serve your real estate needs, please complete our online contact form or give us a call.  Also, check out what our fabulous clients have to say about us on our testimonials page!

Cell: 717 514-1793
email: mailto:Ken@KensHomesales.com

Presented by KensHomesales.com