If you’re trying to get a good deal on Kansas City mortgage rates, you may have heard that you can buy points on your mortgage. Essentially, you are “buying down” your mortgage rate. But is this the right move for you and when should you do it? [Read more…]
Whether you are applying for a home loan, getting pre-approved, or selling a home, keeping accurate records is an important part of financial responsibility. Accurate records will help you provide evidence about a past event like a home purchase in case of emergency or you need proof of ownership.
Why Keep Accurate, Organized Records?
According to the IRA, keeping accurate, organized records is an important part of:
- Preparing financial statements
- Disputing claims or errors
- Showing lenders that you can make your payments
- Identifying and confirming your income sources
The best way to organize your records is by keeping them in their own separate files by category and then the year for easy access. For example:
- Health Records, which cover documents like insurance policies, bills, prescriptions, and life insurance.
- Financial Records, which cover documents like bank statement, taxes, and loans.
- Home/Property Records, which cover documents like mortgages, deeds, and property tax information.
When organizing your records, keep them in a safe, secure place like a lockable filing cabinet or fireproof safe. In cases of records that are difficult to replace, like titles and deeds, put them in a safety deposit box.
Make Sure Statements & Other Records Are Accurate
When you receive statements and other records, remember to go through them to make sure that the information presented there is accurate. If you find an error, talk to your financial advisor and the party is responsible for issuing the statement about getting it corrected. If you don’t, it will negatively affect you in the future if you wish to purchase a home.
Save Your Records
Keeping records is a critical part of making large purchases like a home or filing claims, among other financial decisions. You may have heard that you should keep records for up to seven years, which is good advice. However, different records require different periods of time until they can be safely destroyed. For example:
- Taxes, some credit card statements, and property records can be kept for up to seven years.
- If you have IRA contribution records, keep these records indefinitely to prove that you’ve paid taxes on the money.
- Bills like utilities can be shredded after one year, but bills for larger purchases like jewelry and electronics should be kept permanently in case of loss or damage.
- After you have sold a property, you should keep records relating to the property “until the period of limitations expires for the year in which you dispose of the property,” according to the IRS.
- Home inventories should be kept indefinitely and updated every six months.
Keep Backups Of Those Records
If you are not keen on disposing of old records but don’t have the room to store them, it is advised that you back them up to an electronic file or by making scans. By keeping backups of your records, you will have access to them in case the originals are lost.
Safely Disposing Of Records
When it is time to dispose of a record, it needs to be done correctly and safely. In doing so, you will be protecting your personal information from thieves:
- Paper records should be shredded or incinerated. If shredding, opt for shredders that produce “confetti”. These pieces are smaller and cannot be put back together like strip shredding .
- Digital records should be “sanitized” either by physically destroying the storage medium (like a CD), degaussing, or overwriting the data.
While more convenient to store, digital records are harder to destroy since hitting “delete” doesn’t actually destroy the information–there are backup files that can be dug out and recovered with file recovery programs. If you are unsure how to safely destroy digital records, consult a reputable IT professional.
When you close on your home, you will be paying around 2 to 6 percent of the purchase price in closing costs, or fees paid to third parties for their services. Lenders are required by law to provide you with an estimate of how much these closing costs will cost you so you know what to expect. [Read more…]
When it comes to home financing, there are plenty of misconceptions that can confuse borrowers. If you work for a Kansas City mortgage company, you should understand that first-time home buyers have many preconceived notions of the loan pre-approval and home buying process.
Committing to a Lender
Obtaining a pre-approval letter from a lender does not mean the borrower is committed to working with that Kansas City mortgage company. This process just gives the mortgage company an opportunity to earn their business if they decide to work with them once they’ve chosen a home. If they are just getting a pre-approval, they won’t be required to sign anything that commits you to working with a particular individual. Many potential home buyers prefer to shop around and find the best deal. [Read more…]
There are many missteps that can be made as a first time home buyer. Missouri housing inventory remains scarce and with interest rates so low, there is a lot of competition between prospective buyers. The following information contains helpful hints to guide you along the buying process.
Your first step towards homeownership
Researching home financing options is one of the most essential objectives for a first time home buyer. Missouri can be a very affordable place to live. Taking time to examine all expenses associated with obtaining a house is necessary.
- Establish your long-term goals and how your new house will fit in with these goals.
- Consider the total cost of purchasing a home including: down payment, taxes, insurance, monthly payments, repairs and closing costs.
- Create monthly and annual budgets.
- Use mortgage calculators to help determine reasonable monthly payments.
- Explore all loan programs and plan a consultation with a mortgage professional for additional advice.
Don’t play the field alone!
Buying your first residence can be easy with the right people by your side. Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind when choosing a real estate agent or mortgage banker.
- Interview the candidates about their industry experience.
- Always look for a highly reputable agent.
- Use a professional who has experience in the area you want to live.
- Choose someone that makes you feel comfortable.
- Avoid choosing the wrong mortgage program by finding a trustworthy lender that will explain all of your financing choices to you.
Get preapproved NOT prequalified
Mortgage terms can often be confusing for a first time home buyer. Missouri borrowers need to know the difference between prequalifying and being preapproved. Prequalifying involves a lender creating an educated guess of how much you can borrow, based only on the information you have provided. Preapproval consists of the lender verifying all income and asset documentation. The end result is usually an offer to provide lending up to a specified amount at current interest rates. Here are some advantages of being preapproved for a loan.
- Eliminates risk of being denied for a loan after you find the right house.
- Allows you to know your purchase power before searching the market.
- Gives your agent a firm idea of what you can afford.
- Can be used as a negotiation tool when bargaining with the seller.
- Streamlines your search by narrowing down to homes that you can afford.
- Supplies buyer with information on further expenses that may occur.
Investigate the surrounding area
Once you have found a place that sparks your interest, it’s important to assess the location. It’s worth the time and effort to learn out more about the community. Changing the color of your walls is much easier than changing your neighborhood.
- Drive by the area at different times of the day to understand the activity and noise level.
- Talk to residents who live in your desired region.
- Estimate the property’s worth by comparing your potential house with the neighboring homes.
- Attend a PTA meeting to gather information from local parents.
- Find out what kind of public services are provided.
- Look for clues of financial trouble in the area such as closed parks and libraries.
- Contact the police department for details about crime rate.
NEVER skip an inspection
Your new abode may look immaculate at first glance. Don’t let your inexperience deceive you as a first time home buyer. Missouri has an abundance of qualified inspectors that can assess the condition of your future residence. The benefits of an inspection greatly outweigh the costs.
- Hire a trained inspector, independent of your agent, to avoid a conflict of interest.
- Avoid expensive renovations down the road.
- Ability to cancel your offer if there are serious defects which the seller did not disclose.
- Use as a negotiation tactic to convince the seller to make repairs or reduce the selling price.
- Don’t sign any paperwork until you receive the results of the inspection.
Cornerstone Mortgage, Inc. is dedicated to providing superior service to customers. Their experienced professionals will make you feel relaxed with the loan process. For more information, apply online or call toll free: 800-995-9910.
Getting pre-approved for a loan and having the money to close the deal are always huge concerns for first time homebuyers. Missouri is currently one of the most affordable places to live in the U.S. With that being said, it’s no surprise that recent college graduates are flocking to St. Louis to settle down. There are many dos and don’ts when becoming a homebuyer. Mortgage lenders are abundant so it’s important to research and make an educated decision when choosing a realtor and lender. Here are a few dos and don’ts to make the home purchasing process a breeze and help you avoid common mistakes.
DO: Get pre-approved before looking for your new home.
Prequalifying for a loan before searching for listings is crucial. It allows you to know your price range and saves time, eliminating houses you cannot afford. Understanding your monthly budget prior to purchasing a home is vital. Evaluating monthly and annual expenses will give you an idea of what you can spend on your home. Realtors will generally take you more seriously if you are already pre-approved. Pre-approval can also supply negotiation power with the seller, helping save money for first time homebuyers. Missouri and the rest of the country are experiencing the inventory shortage in the real estate industry. This type of situation can create bidding wars on available properties. No matter how much you may love a particular house, stick firmly to your financial plan. Avoid making decisions based on your emotional connection to the house.
DON’T: Buy a home if you plan to move soon.
If you will be moving soon or plan on staying in your home for a limited time, do not buy a house. Some people have the misconception their home will automatically sell whenever they are ready to move. This is not true in most cases. There is no guarantee you will find a buyer or renter for your property. Consider renting until you have decided on a permanent location.
DO: Seek down payment assistance.
Sometimes even a low down payment may be out of the question for first time homebuyers. Missouri has a number of groups statewide which provides down payment assistance to approved buyers. If you are struggling to come up with a down payment, contact one of your local organizations to see what kind of funding is offered. Keep in mind, most assistance programs do not require you to pay back the money they have given to you.
DON’T: Make large deposits or change bank accounts.
The underwriting process can be time consuming. Moving assets, changing bank accounts or making large deposits can make the situation more complicated for both parties. Monetary sources must be documented for each new account. It is better to have your lender verify funds before rearranging accounts. Monetary changes during the approval process may affect eligibility for a loan.
DO: Hold off on buying or leasing a new vehicle.
Purchasing a new car while trying to qualify for a loan can cause a great deal of trouble for first time homebuyers. Missouri buyers can expect to negatively affect their debt-to-income ratio if they purchase a new vehicle in the midst of the approval process. Underwriting will look at your willingness and ability to pay off debts. Lenders will be weary to hand out a loan if you have recently taken on new debt.
DON’T: Overlook additional costs.
Closing costs are not the only extra expenses associated with buying a home. In fact, many sellers now consider it standard and acceptable to pay some, if not all of the closing fees for the buyer. FHA financing allows the seller to pay up to 6% of the closing costs for the buyer. This is fantastic but there are also other costs which can increase your monthly dues. Homeowner’s insurance, mortgage insurance, and increased utility bills can all play a factor in your monthly allowance. After calculating all expenses, you may find that the home you wanted is financially out of reach.
Cornerstone Mortgage, Inc. will happily help you with all your home mortgage needs. If you would like to speak to a representative, call us toll free at: 800-965-9910 or visit our contact page located on our website.
Missouri First Time Homebuyers: Dos and Don’ts
For first time home buyers in Missouri, choosing the right home can cause an enormous amount of deliberating. Missouri is currently one of the most affordable places to live. With that being said, it only makes sense that these individuals are eager to get their hands on their future new home. There are so many decisions and details which should be discussed during this exciting time in a person’s life. Excitement aside, there are some primary aspects to the home purchase process that should not be overlooked before taking the big leap. Where does one start when attempting to ask questions about that house that you’ve had your eye on? The goal as a consumer is to make sure your journey is enjoyable and a memory you’ll cherish, instead of one that you hope to soon forget. The following tips are essential for people to consider during the home buying process.
Choose a competent, trustworthy professional
The process to buy a home can be a daunting task for any first time home buyers in Missouri. Hiring a trusted, competent professional can make a world of difference. The goal is to hire someone who is willing to work for you, not for themselves. Dealing with locally ran companies will also make the process easier. They tend to be more accessible than the larger nationwide lenders. Once you have decided to buy a house and have chosen a professional to help you, let those people know your expected time frame for buying. This will let the loan officer and your real estate agent know when you expect to find your home.
Be financially realistic, not emotional
Searching for a home can be a very emotionally driven process at times. Although our feelings can drive us in certain directions, being financially realistic can save the headaches for someone else. Just like with any investment, a firm budget is a must. Some first time home buyers in Missouri don’t realize that there are other costs to take into account when getting your first home mortgage. Some loans offer lower down payments or lower closing costs. This may seem like a good idea in the moment, however, consider the fact that decreasing these fees can mean higher monthly mortgage fees overall. Finding the right loan for you can sometimes be a hassle but with strong professional help, the situation can be much easier. Make sure to speak with mortgage experts about all your possible options to determine what the best choice is for your financial plan. Also acquiring pre-approval before house hunting is extremely important because it essentially decides how much you can really spend on your home.
Make informed decisions and be decisive
The best way to make an informed decision is to research and have a guideline of what you’re expecting to acquire in this investment. Having a strong idea of what you are looking for can help avoid situations like waiting too long and missing out on a property that you could have purchased. Making a list of the aspects that are vital to you is a great idea. It can help weed out what isn’t a necessity in the new home and shed light on things that may become important. Now that you have made a list of considerable elements to look for when buying, it’s time to ask the important questions. Do not ever hesitate to ask your agent any questions you may have. Chances are they will have a reasonable, knowledgeable answer.
At Cornerstone Mortgage, Inc. we are dedicated to offering a pleasant and efficient experience for first time home buyers in Missouri. For more information or to talk to one of our representatives, please visit our contact page.
If you are a person that has not purchased a home in the past 3 years, you would be considered as a first time home buyer. St. Louis realtors and mortgage professionals are here to help guide you through the purchase process, and make it as smooth as possible.
The first step is to see if you are ready to buy a home. The more you understand the real estate market place, the more likely you are to be able to meet your purchasing goals. A few things you will want to consider before purchasing a home are the purchasing time frame and what you can afford. Currently, there are various innovative mortgage programs that require only a 5% down payment or less. Some programs allow a first time home buyer (St. Louis) to buy with nothing down and underwrite closing costs. However, in order to qualify for these programs you will need solid credit for at least a year prior to purchasing your home.
The second step is to find a realtor. You can find top realtor professionals by referrals, open houses, and advertising. As a first time home buyer (St. Louis), you will want to establish a business relationship and make sure the realtor is alerting you to the most up-to-date marketplace conditions during the process.
The third step is to get preapproved. Very few individuals are able to purchase a home by using cash. Realtors strongly suggest starting the mortgage process before bidding on a home, as the purchase form only allows 7 to 10 days to apply for financing. This will allow you to take your time to find a lender, review your credit, and find one or two mortgage programs that fit your needs.
The fourth step is finding a home that is right for you. You will want to make a list of features and benefits you want in your home. You will also want to consider your priorities and needs for the future. You will want to target your search by location and affordability.
The fifth step is to get funding. As a first time home buyer (St. Louis) you will need to complete a loan application, along with providing supporting documentation such as recent pay stubs, rental checks, tax returns, and so forth. You will need to see how much your down payment would be, and make sure you have good credit.
The sixth step is one of the most important. You will need to find a lender that fits your financial goals.
The seventh step is to make an offer to the seller. The seller will accept, reject, or give you a counter offer. There will also be multiple inspections done on the home, such as a termite inspection, survey, appraisal, and structural inspection.
The eighth step is making sure you have homeowner’s insurance and home warranty coverage at closing. The final step is closing your loan. This is when the buyer and seller transfer the title. There will also be a final walk-through of the home.
If you are a first time home buyer, it is important to do your research. If you are feeling lost and overwhelmed, one of the best places to start is to visit our website. Cornerstone provides a free homeowner’s guide to help you understand the process. Call a mortgage professional today to help you meet your purchasing goal.