Homeownership Assistance

Need help buying a home? You may qualify for one of these programs:

HUD-approved housing counseling agencies: Housing counseling agencies offer guidance on home buying, renting, reverse mortgages, and default and foreclosure prevention. hud.gov/states/florida/homeownership/hsgcounseling

USDA Rural Housing Service: Direct loans and grants for building, purchasing or repairing homes. rd.usda.gov/programs-services

Florida Association for Community Action: Local agencies provide low-income homeowners emergency home repair and weatherization assistance. faca.org

HUD’s Community Development Block Grants (CDBG): Recipients may offer homebuyer assistance in your area. hud.gov/states/florida/community/cdbg

Florida Housing Finance Corporation: Call (800) 814-HOME (4663) for info on first-time homebuyer programs, lower interest rate loans and purchase assistance. floridahousing.org

HUD’s HOME Investment Partnership Program: Provides funding to local agencies to help you purchase or repair your home. hud.gov/states/florida/community/home

Habitat for Humanity: Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that helps people in your community and around the world build or improve a place they can call home. Donate, volunteer and raise your voice in support of decent and affordable housing.
habitat.org

State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) Program: Depending on income, recipients could be eligible for home repair or replacement, downpayment assistance, rental housing assistance and other affordable housing assistance. floridahousing.org/buyers-renters/local-housing-programs

7 Winning Tips for Buyers

Concerned that you could be in a bidding war? Use these strategies to increase your odds of getting your offer accepted.

  1. Encourage your agent to reach out to the listing agent to find out what the seller is looking for, such as a quick close, an above asking-price offer or a waived contingency. This will help you and your agent craft a competitive offer.
  2. Make a cash offer. If you’re not in a position to pay cash, get preapproved for a mortgage and have your preapproval letter in hand.
  3. Pay attention to the listing agent’s request. Many times, they will have you submit your highest and best offer. Ask your agent for some strategies on handling this type of offer.
  4. Consider waiving contingencies. If you are financing, check with your lender.
  5. Figure out where you can be flexible. You’ll need to move quickly, so know your must-haves versus your nice-to-haves before you start your search.
  6. Don’t get emotional. Trust your agent to walk you through each step in the buying process.
  7. Be available. Respond to inquiries quickly and ask your Real Estate Agent to check in regularly with the listing agent to monitor the seller’s progress.

Source: NAR, Florida RealtorⓇ magazine, housingwire.com, Rocket Mortgage

STOP! Avoid These 7 Things Before Closing On Your New Home

You’ve found your dream home, your offer is accepted and your closing date is 20 days away. We know your mind is on furnishing your house and buying supplies. And you are probably a little overwhelmed with all that goes into moving. Don’t jeopardize your chance at a successful closing by making one of these errors.

Here’s what NOT to do before closing on your new home:

  1. Change jobs
  2. Increase debts
  3. Apply for new credit
  4. Move money without a paper trail
  5. Skip a payment or make a late payment for a bill
  6. Spend your savings
  7. Buy big-ticket items

Lenders will continue to check your credit, income and job stability up to just before closing to see if anything has changed that may impact you qualifying.

Stop! Avoid These 7 Things Before Closing On Your New Home - Realty Advisors Miami LLC

5 Steps for Buying Your First Home

Purchasing a home isn’t the easiest thing in the world. If you want the best chance of getting a home at a great price, you need to prepare in advance. Check out these 5 tips to ensure you’re ready for your new home purchase.

  1. Get your finances in order. Your credit score should be 700-plus, your source of income should be stable, your debt-to-income ratio should be less than 45%, and you should have a big chunk of money in the bank to cover the down payment and closing costs and have some money left over.
  2. Don’t rush it. If you are under the pressure of a big life event, recognize that you’re probably creating an artificial timeline for yourself. If you are on a deadline to move out of a rental, set up a month-to-month lease instead of racing against the clock.
  3. Know what you want from the house itself and know what a good, reasonable deal is. Pick out specific neighborhoods and home types and analyze them in advance. Make sure you look at houses that have recently sold, not those that are currently on the market.
  4. When you start looking at homes, consider location-related features like your commute time, the parking situation, the school district and property taxes. Know where you stand on HOA communities and factor any HOA fees into your monthly budget.
  5. Once all these things are in order (and you’ve picked out your real estate agent and have been pre-approved for a loan), you are as ready as you’ll ever be. Keep your eyes open for a good deal, and don’t hesitate when that deal pops up.
5 Steps For Buying Your First Home - Realty Advisors Miami LLC

8 Tips for Buying a Vacation Home

A vacation home is a perfect way to relax and unwind. If you are considering the purchase of a vacation home, check the following tips to get you unwinding in no time!

  1. Consider how you’ll use the home. Will it just be for family and friends, or do you plan to rent it as well? And realistically, how many times will you use it per year?
  2. Evaluate locations. Are there enough amenities and attractions to keep you— and renters—coming back year after year?
  3. Talk to the locals. What do they love about the area? What’s changing? And what’s it like during the off season?
  4. Study local laws. If you plan to rent the home, local rules may restrict rental periods or cap the number of days you can rent each year.
  5. Calculate costs. Along with mortgage, insurance, property taxes and association or amenities fees, plan for wear and tear. (A good rule of thumb: Budget 1½ percent of home’s value on repairs annually.) And if you intend to rent, add the cost of a property manager.
  6. Talk to an accountant. This person can advise you on such issues as the tax implications of rental income and changes in federal tax laws that could impact deductions.
  7. Test before you buy. Once you’ve settled on a spot, you should rent in every season so you can gauge busy and slow times.
  8. Work with a REALTOR®. Pick someone who knows the community and who can recommend the other experts you’ll want to consult.

Sources: Bankrate.com, Money magazine, HGTV, biggerpockets.com

15 Questions to Ask when Choosing a Lender

Buying a home is a major financial commitment. Understanding what to ask when buying a house can help ease the home buying process. Explore these 15 questions before you choose a lender:

  1. What are the most popular mortgages you offer? Why are they so popular?
  2. What fees are included in a loan; and what fees will be due at closing?
  3. Are your rates, terms, fees and closing costs negotiable?
  4. Do you offer discounts for inspections, home ownership classes or setting up automatic payments?
  5. Will I have to buy private mortgage insurance? If so, how much will it cost and how long will it be required?
  6. What are your escrow requirements?
  7. What bill-pay options do you offer?
  8. What would be included in my mortgage payment (homeowners insurance, property taxes, etc.)?
  9. Which type of mortgage plan would you recommend for my situation?
  10. Who will service this loan – your bank or another company?
  11. How long will the rate on this loan be locked-in? Will I be able to obtain a lower rate if the market rate drops during the lock-in period?
  12. How long will the loan approval process take?
  13. How long will it take to close the loan?
  14. Are there any charges or penalties for prepaying this loan?
  15. How much in total will I be paying over the life of this loan?

Are you ready to buy your next home? Contact me today!

Buying a Home: Step-by-Step

Buying a property is a complex undertaking, even if you’ve been through it before. This easy-to-follow checklist breaks down the process and will guide you through each major step.

  • Step 1: Decide to buy a property
  • Step 2: Establish criteria and budget
  • Step 3: Select and agent – contact me!
  • Step 4: Select a lender (if applicable)
  • Step 5: Visit properties
  • Step 6: Make an offer & Negotiate
  • Step 7: Inspect the property
  • Step 8: Get the property appraised (if applicable)
  • Step 9: Close

I can help you during this process. Contact me today!

7 Reasons to Own a Home

If you are like most home buyers, you probably have friends, family and coworkers encouraging you to buy a home. However, you may still be wondering if buying a home is the right thing to do. Well, having reservations is normal, and getting educated is the right move (pun intended)! The more you know about why you should buy a home, the less scary the entire process will appear to you. Here are seven good reasons why you should buy a home.

  1. Tax benefits: The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, and some of the costs involved in buying a home.
  2. Appreciation: Historically, real estate has had a long-term, stable growth in value. In fact, median single-family existing-home sale prices have increased on average 5.2 percent each year from 1972 through 2014, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. The 2007-2010 housing crisis has caused some to question the long-term value of real estate, but values were up 7.0 percent on a cumulative basis in the 2010-2020 decade. In addition, the number of U.S. households is expected to rise 10 to 15 percent over the next decade 2020-2030, creating continued high demand for housing.
  3. Equity: Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home.
  4. Savings: Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.
  5. Predictability: Unlike rent, your fixed-rate mortgage payments don’t rise over the years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer. However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will likely increase.
  6. Freedom: The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and choose the types of upgrades and new amenities that appeal to your lifestyle.
  7. Stability: Remaining in one neighborhood for several years allows you and your family time to build long-lasting relationships within the community. It also offers children the benefit of educational and social continuity.

Questions? Contact me today!