Frequently Asked Questions
If I am thinking about buying a home, where do I begin, and who do I talk to?
The first step in any home buying adventure should always be Home Buyer Education. Take a free, and non-promotional home buyer class, but remember that not all classes are created equal. Go to www.learningtobuyahome.com for class dates/times/locations. Classes are about 3 hours long, and since they have no outside government or organization affiliations, these classes tell it like it is...ALL the pros/cons of the housing market and the loans available...even the loans that are not advertised that can help you with down payment.
What if I am not ready to buy a home right now?
The average person who takes the home buyer education classes are not ready to buy right now. The average person purchases a home about 6-9 months AFTER they take the class. Some people do take the class, and buy a home immediately, and some take the clas more than once and take longer. The point of the classes are to give you the education you need to make informed decisions for you, and your family....and to give you the steps you need to get ready to buy a home...all at no obligation.
Why is my rent going up?
I get this question quite frequently lately. With today's home prices, and the low, low interest rates you can buy a home with mortgage about as much as you are paying for rent. So why would rents be going up if you can buy a home for the same monthly payment?? In a normal market rents would actually be going down, but we are not in a 'normal' market. Your rent keeps going up because of all the folks who are losing their homes. When someone loses their home to either short sale, or bank foreclosure they can not buy a home for at least 3 years....they are now a portion of the population that is forced to rent. This is the first time we have had such a large portion of the population who can not buy, and yes, landlords, and property management companies know this. Many places have waiting lists for their rentals, so they can can raise rents...knowing that many folks have no choice.
When is the best time to buy a home?
This is really a personal question as it really depends on when you, the buyer, wants to buy a home, and when you are ready to do so.
However, in the real estate world, on average, home prices are the least expensive during the fall/winter months, and most expensive during the spring/summer months.
My rent is $1200 a month. Do you think I can buy a home for that?
Yes, you can. With home prices so low, and interest rates so low, you can buy a home for pretty close to what you are paying for mortgage.
What if I have bad credit?
What is bad credit? Most people think you have to have credit above 700 to buy a home and this isn't true. Most lenders are looking for credit scores of 620 or above.
If your credit is lower than that, I good lender can help you with that. I have a client who last summer had a credit score of 450, and she is looking for a home right now...with a credit score of 660! The right lender can, and will help you. A good one to call is Chris Berg with Pinnacle Home Mortgage at 503-320-0925, or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
What if I don't have a down payment? Don't I need a lot?
For a FHA loan the downpayment requirement is 3.5%...not more than that as some people think.
And yes, there are a LOT of ways to get that downpayment....including state loan assistant programs that can help with that...as long as you don't make over $97,000 a year. There are also 100% loan programs that are for specific areas of Clark County, and down payment grants. A grant is money you don't have to pay back. These programs are all gone over in detail at the free home buyer classes.
what about short sales? and bank owned foreclosures?
Wow...this is a big one, and I don't have enough time here to go over these two in depth. The free home buyer education classes do go over these types of homes...the pros/cons, and all the other types of homes out there. We also discuss all the paperwork involved in buying a home, and explain what they all mean.
How much money do I need to buy a home?
there is really no such thing as buying a home with no money out of your pocket as there are some up front costs.
Earnest Money (when you have an accepted offer) is typically $1000. This amount will either go towards your downpayment, or can be refunded back to you AFTER closing...depending on your loan.
Inspection (when you have an accepted offer) is typically about $350-$375. This is a payment to your inspector to make sure the home is in good condition before you buy it.
Appraisal (after the home inspection) is typically about $500-$650. This is a payment to the appraisal, who is hired by the bank, to make sure you are not over paying for a home.
So...about $2000 is what you need to start the process. Talk to your agent and lender about this if you need help, or aren't sure. Again...we do go over this in more detail at the home buyer education classes.