Real Estate Information Archive

Blog

Displaying blog entries 1-7 of 7

Surprise! You Don’t Need a 20% Down Payment to Buy a House!

by The Hat Team

You are ready to purchase your first house.  Your credit score is great.  You know you can afford a monthly mortgage payment based on your budget.  You are sure you will be approved for a mortgage loan.  But that down payment!  How the heck are you supposed to come up with 20%?  Don’t despair, because the truth is, you don’t need a 20% down payment to purchase a house!

Saving for a down payment on a house can seem overwhelming for many people.  Keep in mind that it can come from various sources.  Funds can come from bank accounts, stocks or mutual funds, an inheritance, or a gift from a family member.  Some people will even use assets from their retirement portfolio.  Requirements regarding where the money comes from for your down payment depend on the loan type.  Also, purchasing a primary residence usually requires a lower down payment than if you are purchasing a second home or buying an investment property. The Different Types of Mortgage Loans in 2018, Explained

The myth about down payments is that 20% is the norm. While that may have been true in the past, it’s not anymore.  The fact is that per the National Association of Realtors, a majority of homebuyers purchased their home with a down payment of 6 percent or less. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t even consider buying a home because they still think they need 20% down.  The NAR'S Aspiring Home Buyers Profile 2018 found that 36% of non-owners believed that saving for a down payment would be very difficult. Chances are they still believe in the 20% down myth and it is just not the case anymore!

So, now that you know you don’t have to have 20%, perhaps buying a home seems more within reach.  But there are still some things you should be aware of before taking that first step toward homeownership.  Various factors are at play in determining if you should take on a mortgage with lower down payment.  For example, the less you put down, the larger your mortgage payment will be each month.  That is because you will have a larger loan amount, possibly a higher mortgage interest rate, and the added cost of Mortgage Insurance.  So, while you don’t have to come up with more cash, your monthly costs go up.

Once you have educated yourself about the requirements, you can make informed decisions about your budget and how much you can afford.  Don’t let the 20% down payment myth stop you from pursuing your dream of home ownership! 

If you are in the market to sell or buy a home, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of professionals assist you with all your real estate needs. Call them today at 334-834-1500!

First-Time Homebuyer’s Checklist: Are You Ready to Buy?

by The Hat Team

The decision to purchase your first home is not one that should be made lightly.  It is an important, life-changing decision that should be given serious consideration.  So, before you take the plunge into searching for the prefect home, here are some questions you should ask yourself to make sure that you are ready.

- Can I afford a home?  The first step is to determine if you can afford to buy a home based on your current financial situation.   Using a Home Affordability Calculator will help you figure out how much you can afford by plugging in your income, debt and the amount of a down payment you will be able to make.   You will now have a number for the highest amount you can afford and what the monthly payment will be.

 - Is it better for me to rent or buy?  Using a Rent vs. Buy Calculator will allow you to crunch the numbers. You can enter the current amount of rent you’re paying (or how much you would be able to pay) and the zip code where you want to live. The calculator will provide a comparison of the cost of buying a home versus renting in that area.  You will also be able to see which option is more cost effective over time.

 - How long will I live here?  If you plan to stay in a home for a long time, it is generally better to buy versus rent. If you’re going to be living somewhere for a short term, renting might be the better option.  The reason is that when you buy a home you will likely have to pay closing costs which can total in the thousands of dollars.  In addition, most of your early mortgage payments go toward interest rather than paying down the principal, which is the actual amount you owe on the home.  A good rule of thumb is that home buyers should stay put for at least five years.  Otherwise, renting may be better.

 - Are you saving for retirement?  Retirement may seem a long way off to young home-buyers, but it is important to start saving early.  It’s not a good idea to neglect your retirement accounts to “save” money to put down on a house.   Consider meeting with a financial counselor who can help you find a balance in saving for retirement and saving for your first home at the same time.

 - Am I ready for the responsibility?  Owning a home is a huge responsibility.  With rentals, you can call your landlord to fix things that aren’t working in the home, but as an owner, it’s all up to you.  You need to be sure that you have the time, willingness and resources to keep up with home and yard maintenance.

Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of professional Realtors at Homes for Sale in Montgomery AL can assist you in the process of determining if you are ready to purchase your first home.  Give them a call at 334-834-1500 and get started today!

Organizing Your Home Made Simple

by The Hat Team

It is almost time for the seasons to change once again as we move from winter slowly into spring.  As the seasons change many people find that they like to get things around their home organized to make the transition seem smoother.  Organizing your home can be made simple with a few of the following tips. 

  1. One way to organize your home is to get rid of “junk drawers” throughout the house. Many times folks tend to throw things they don’t know what to do with into a drawer that soon becomes a drawer full of junk. While these drawers DO keep the junk out of the eye of those that come to visit, you just never know when someone may open one of them looking for utensils or other useful items and you may be embarrassed by them.  Simple fix…..throw out the junk once and for all and have no more junk drawers in your home!
  2. Another great and simple way to organize your home   is to organize and de-clutter your pantry.  Typically there are items in your pantry that you haven’t used in years and they end up just sitting there taking up space.  This is very true for old canned food items that tend to have a shelf life of forever.   Once you get this simple organizing of your pantry complete, be sure not to let it get messy again by throwing away things you don’t use periodically. 
  3. Yet another simple way to organize your home  is to use all of your closet space for things you will actually use instead of just getting things out of the way.   If you have a lot of games for example why not make a game closet just for the purpose of storing all of your family games.  This type of closet will make it more likely that your family may have a game night once a week because you will know exactly where to go to find the games. 
  4. Keeping all of the books in the house in one spot is another great organization tip.  If you have various bookshelves in your home, you can utilize them for other purposes and keep one for only books.  Organize each shelf for books from each family member if you have a lot of books.  

Courtesy of Montgomery AL Real Estate Expert Sandra Nickel.   

How to Spruce Up a Boring Kitchen

by The Hat Team

The kitchen is a place in the home where many hours are spent preparing meals and spending time with family.  If the kitchen is boring and not ecstatically pleasing to you or your family, no one is going to want to spend any time there.  Below is a list of a few ways in which you can spruce up your boring kitchen and make it a place where you really love to be.  

  1. One of the first ways you might think about to spruce up a boring kitchen is buying new appliances.  The typical type of appliance these days is stainless steel.  Another type of appliance that folks are using these days are the ones that look just like cabinets.  Whatever type of appliance you decide to buy, you will be helping your kitchen look as good as it possibly can.
  2. Another way to spruce up your kitchen is by changing the paint color.  If your kitchen is older, it is possible that the paint has gotten worn over the years and adding a pop of color with new paint can make all the difference in the world.
  3. Yet another good way to spruce up a boring kitchen  is by changing the cabinets.  You can choose to have all new cabinets put in or you could just change the way they look by painting them.  Antiquing is a popular way to refinish and spruce up furniture.  Antiqued cabinets are very beautiful and can make a kitchen look really nice. 
  4. Buying some new lighting for your kitchen is an easy way to spruce it up.  You can get as crazy as you want with lighting when it comes to making your kitchen an exciting place to be.  Go to your local hardware or lighting store to see what all is available for you to choose from. 
  5. New flooring in the kitchen is another way to make it look updated.  If you currently have laminate you may want to change it to tile, or you could choose to extend the hardwoods from the family room or whatever room adjoins the kitchen into the kitchen.   

These are just a few ideas for sprucing up a boring kitchen.  Hopefully they will get you started in the right direction for making your kitchen a room that everyone wants to congregate in.  

Courtesy of Montgomery AL Real Estate Expert Sandra Nickel.   

Today we are going to let you in on a few ideas of what characteristics home buyers are looking for these days so that you can get top dollar for your home.  There is no better time than now to get busy about getting your home ready to sell.

laundry room

  • One of the most important things that home buyers these days are looking for is that there is a laundry room in the home.  Most folks do not want a laundry closet but an actual room where they can escape in order to get their laundry done.  A great way to catch the eye of the women of the family is to have a nice laundry room  with updated appliances and a few extras as well.  Many of these extra’s can be done DIY style.
     
  • Exterior lighting is another way to catch potential home buyer’s attention quickly.  As the days grow longer and it stays light longer many folks will be driving around looking at homes late into the evening.  By lighting your home up on the outside you are doing a great service towards selling your home more quickly. 
     
  • Replacing old windows for new energy efficient windows is a characteristic that many home buyers may be looking for.  With the high costs of energy these days, folks are doing all they can to lower their electric bills.  Buying energy efficient windows will help lower electric bills dramatically.
     
  • Extra storage space in your garage is a feature that most men will love in a new home.  By taking time to add some extra storage in your garage before a sale you may be adding extra change in your pocket. 
     
  • Eat-in kitchens are essential for a home to have for most people these days.  If your kitchen is not eat-in you may want to do a little bit of remodeling before you put your house on the market. 
     
  • Kitchen pantry storage is of up-most regard for most home buyers these days as well.  If you already have adequate pantry space then it would be a good idea for you to purchase some organizational shelves and such to make it less cluttered and more organized. 

These are just some of the many characteristics that potential home buyers are looking for in today's market.   If you can, it will serve you well to add at least one of these to your home before you put it on the market.

Information provided by Montgomery AL Realtors Sandra Nickel Hat Team.

Montgomery Real Estate For Sale:

3413 Country Church Road Montgomery, AL 36116

MLS#294910

Handsomely updated traditional home with big rooms and lots of storage too. New neutral carpet in living areas, hard tile in kitchen, baths, laundry and bedroom wing center hall--low maintenance! Wonderful master bath with 2 vanities and huge walk-in closet.Sandra Nickel and the Hat Team have distinguished themselves as leaders in the Montgomery AL real estate market. Sandra assists buyers looking for Montgomery real estate for sale and aggressively markets Montgomery AL homes for sale. Sandra is also an expert in helping families avoid foreclosure through short sales and is committed to helping families in financial hardship find options. For more information you can visit AvoidForeclosureMontgomery.com.

 

 

Why Its A Good Time For Montgomery Home Buyers To Buy In 2009

by The Hat Team
One man’s loss is another man’s gain and right now buyer’s have everything to gain. It was only a few short years ago that sellers controlled the market and were calling the shots. In order to buy a home, buyers were paying over the asking price, foregoing home inspections and paying all their own closing costs. Montgomery home buyers were jumping through any and all hoops.
 
Now the market has shifted. The strong sellers’ market is a thing of the past and it is the sellers who are jumping through hoops. Buyers are calling the shots with offers that include home inspections; requests that closing costs, homeowner association fees and inspection fees be paid by the seller; decorating allowances; home improvement; and prices far below the asking price.
 
So why are Montgomery home buyers hesitating? Fear of a tanking economy, falling home prices and job instability are concerns for many potential home buyers. But if you are financially stable and plan to stay in a home for at least five years, there are 5 top reasons to buy a Montgomery home in 2009:
 
1. Homes are affordable.
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.

A recent report from Moody's Economy.com predicted that house prices will stabilize by the end of this year. The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight's Web site has a house price calculator that can help. Visit the calculator.
 
2. There are lots of homes to choose from.
The slow down in the housing market has caused homes to stay on the market longer, creating a huge inventory. There was a 9.6-month supply of unsold existing homes in January given that month's sales pace, according to NAR.
 
A large inventory gives buyers more selection, driving down prices. As buyers start to jump back into the market, the inventory will shrink and cause prices to start going back up. The time to get the best deal is before most buyers buy.
 
3. Builders are offering perks.
New home builders are offering price reductions, free upgrades and other perks such as free appliances, homeowners’ fees being paid, lower interest rates decorating allowances. Once their inventory shrinks, these perks will go away.
 
4. Interest rates are at historical lows.
Lenders are not lending as freely, but if you have good credit and the needed down payment, mortgage interest rates are historically low and hovering around 5 percent.
 
5. There is an $8000 tax credit

If you are a first-time Montgomery home buyer, you will qualify for an $8000 federal tax credit if you buy before December 1, 2009. Unlike the previous tax credit offered in 2008, this does not have to be repaid. Extra money comes in handy when buying a home.
 
Trying to decide if buying a Montgomery home in 2009 is right for you. Visit HatTeam.com or give me a call. I’m glad to review your situation with you.

Displaying blog entries 1-7 of 7

Syndication

Categories

Archives

   cdpe    crsHat Lady on Zillow