Gwen Pangle's Blog - Leesburg, VA real estate, Ashburn, VA real estate, Middleburg, VA real estate


If you’re getting ready to buy a home, you know it will be one of the most significant purchases of your entire life. However, are you fully prepared for all of the expenses that buying a home will bring? You don’t want to buy a house to find out that you can’t afford it after all.


Many expenses go into buying a home that you can plan for ahead of time. Other costs aren’t as exact that you will need to add in your budget. Read on to learn more about many of the expenses that throw first-time home buyers for a loop. 


Closing Costs


Closing costs encompass a whole bunch of expenses that you’ll incur buying a home. These include:


  • Taxes
  • Application fees
  • Attorney fees
  • Title insurance
  • Reimbursements
  • Recording fees

No matter what the closing costs include, you should plan for these expenses to be about 2-5 percent of the price of your home. Costs can vary widely, but it’s good to have a bit of extra cash on hand.


Maintaining Your Home


While most homebuyers are prepared for the initial costs of buying a home, they don't know how much it costs to maintain a home. Each year, things will come up on your property that needs to be addressed continually. These tasks include:


Cleaning

Yard care

Gutters

Pressure washing


These routine tasks are independent of other costs like replacing a stove or fixing a furnace. Homeowners need to be prepared for these expenses as well.


Taxes


Taxes can increase or decrease for any given year. You can lookup taxes in the area where you’re planning to buy a home in order to prepare yourself. You should make sure that your property taxes are comparable with that of other homes in your area.

Utilities


Utilities are what your home runs on. Depending on the climate you live in the number of utilities you pay can vary. Take into account these things:


  • Heat
  • Air conditioning
  • Water
  • Electricity
  • Phone
  • Cable
  • Internet

Most neighborhoods have one or two choices for services, so you can ask people in the neighborhood what providers they [refer and how much their bills are each month.         



Insurance


You’re required to have homeowner’s insurance when you get a mortgage. Even if you don’t take out a mortgage and pay cash for a home, it’s a wise decision to protect your investment. Estimate how much a yearly policy will cost you ahead of time. 


This insurance will protect your property from things like theft and fire. You can shop around for the best rates based on policies that suit your needs. It’s easy to price out policies online. See where you can save including discounts for security systems or multiple policy discounts. 


If you live in an area where floods or earthquakes are prevalent, you should be aware. You’ll find you need additional policies to cover damage in the event of these disasters. The most important thing about your homeowner’s insurance policy is that you check the details for all of the fine print.       



With 24 hours before you finalize your home purchase, you might feel a mix of anxiety and excitement.

What will it be like to finally own a home? How will the home closing process go? And what will I need to do to ensure everything goes seamlessly as you wrap up your home purchase? These are just some of the common questions that homebuyers consider in the hours leading up to a home closing.

It is important to prepare as much as possible before you complete a home purchase. Lucky for you, we're here to help you do just that.

Let's take a look at three tips that you can use to get ready to finish a home purchase.

1. Get Your Paperwork in Order

You may need multiple forms of identification and other essential documents when you close on a home. Thus, you should put together a folder of any must-have documents at least a day in advance.

If you find that documents are missing, retrieve them as quickly as possible. Also, try to get multiple copies of important documents if you can.

When it comes to getting ready for a home closing, it usually is better to over-prepare. Therefore, if you plan ahead as much as you can, you'll have all of the documents you need to complete the home closing process without delay.

2. Finish Any Last-Minute Packing

After you finalize a home purchase, you'll be ready to move in to your new home. As such, you should ensure that all of your belongings are packed up and ready to go.

If you're vacating an apartment, ensure that you've notified your landlord and provided sufficient notice about your upcoming move. That way, you'll be able to finish your rental agreement on good terms with your landlord.

Also, if you need extra help for your move, be sure to reach out to a moving company or family members and friends. And if you require a moving truck, don't forget to rent one in the days leading up to your move.

3. Consult with Your Real Estate Agent

The day before a home closing can be stressful, particularly for first-time homebuyers. If you have any concerns about the home closing process, be sure to consult with your real estate agent.

Your real estate agent likely has been a life-saver throughout the homebuying process thus far and will continue to assist you in any way possible. If you have questions about the home closing cycle, your real estate agent will respond to your queries immediately.

In addition, your real estate agent can teach you the ins and outs about what will happen before, during and after a home closing. He or she will explain what to look for during a final home walk-through, what home closing forms that you'll need to sign and what to expect after a home purchase.

Streamline the home closing process – use these tips, and you can get take the guesswork out of finalizing a home purchase.


If you plan to buy a home in the immediate future, there are several concerns that you should address before you embark on your house search. In fact, some of the most common homebuying concerns include:

1. Lack of Home Financing

You know you want to purchase a house, but obtaining financing sometimes is difficult. Fortunately, if you meet with various banks and credit unions, you can review all of the home financing options at your disposal and map out your home search accordingly.

Remember, there is no such thing as a "bad" question to ask a bank or credit union relative to home financing. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, knowledgeable home financing specialists who are happy to assist you in any way possible. These specialists can respond to your home financing concerns, and as a result, help you make an informed mortgage selection.

2. Tight Homebuying Timeline

If you are tasked with relocating to a new home as quickly as possible, you may have to conduct a fast house search. But if you explore ways to maximize your time and resources, you could boost the likelihood of conducting a successful home search, regardless of your homebuying timeline.

Oftentimes, it helps to make a list of homebuying tasks that you need to complete. You then can establish goals designed to help you stay on track with your homebuying timeline.

You also should keep a close eye on the housing sector in your preferred cities and towns. That way, if a great home at a budget-friendly price becomes available, you can instantly pounce at this homebuying opportunity.

3. Establishing Realistic Homebuying Expectations

The homebuying journey offers no guarantees. If you enter the housing market with realistic expectations, however, you can avoid potential disappointments during your home search.

To establish realistic homebuying expectations, it generally is a good idea to make a list of home must-haves and wants. This list will allow you to hone your house search to residences that meet your criteria. It also can help focus on available residences that fall within your price range.

In addition, it often helps to hire a real estate agent before you conduct a house search. A real estate agent can teach you everything you need to know about finding and purchasing a house. Plus, he or she can provide expert insights at each stage of the homebuying journey.

Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent provides when you are ready to submit an offer to purchase a home, either. At this point, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive homebuying proposal and submit it to a seller. If a seller accepts your offer, a real estate agent then will help you finalize your house purchase.

Ready to embark on the homebuying journey? Address your homebuying concerns, and you can minimize risk as you begin your search for your ideal residence.


If you intend to buy a house, it generally is a good idea to establish realistic property buying expectations. That way, you can plan ahead for the homebuying journey and avoid potential problems that otherwise may prevent you from achieving your desired results.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you manage your expectations as you pursue your dream residence.

1. Create Homebuying Criteria

With homebuying criteria, you can determine exactly what you want from your dream residence. Then, you can narrow your house search and speed up your quest to discover your ideal home.

Think about where you want to live. For instance, if you prefer the hustle and bustle of the big city over life in a small town, you may want to hone your house search to properties in the city of your choice. Or, if you have always dreamed about owning a home near the beach, now may be the ideal time to transform your dream into a reality.

Don't forget to consider the features you want from your dream home too. Make a list of home must-haves and wants, and you can streamline your home search.

2. Set Homebuying Goals

Establishing homebuying goals can help you build a roadmap for your home search. This roadmap then will enable you to identify potential homebuying hurdles and resolve such issues before they escalate.

Homebuying goals can guide you along the homebuying journey. You can create as many or as few goals as you'd like, and by doing so, simplify your search for your ideal residence.

In addition, it is important to be flexible with your homebuying goals. And remember, if you fail to accomplish a homebuying goal by a specific date, you can always adjust your homebuying roadmap as needed.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

If you are unsure about what to expect during the homebuying journey, there is no need to stress. In fact, you can hire an expert real estate agent who can help you establish realistic property buying expectations from day one.

A real estate agent first learns about you and your homebuying goals. He or she next will put together a personalized homebuying strategy for you and ensure you can complete a successful property buying journey.

As you search for your dream home, a real estate agent will set up home showings and keep you up to date about new houses that meet your homebuying criteria. He or she also will help you submit an offer to purchase on any house you want to acquire. And once an offer to purchase is accepted, a real estate agent will help you navigate the final steps of the property buying journey.

Ready to begin your search for your dream residence? If you understand how to manage your homebuying expectations, you should have no trouble achieving the best-possible results at each stage of the homebuying journey.


FHA loans have long been a valuable resource for Americans who want to fulfill their goal of homeownership but who don’t have the benefit of a lengthy credit history and equity.

If you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future but want to explore all of your options in terms of financing, this article is for you.

Today we’re going to talk about FHA loans and how to know if you qualify for one.

What are FHA loans?

FHA loans are issued by private mortgage lenders across the country, just like regular mortgages. The difference, however, is that an FHA loan is “guaranteed” by the federal government.

Lenders decide your borrowing eligibility, and how much you can borrow, by determining risk. If you don’t have a sizable down payment (oftentimes 20% or more) and you have a low credit score, most mortgage lenders will see you as a risky person to lend to.

When you get an FHA loan, however, the federal government assumes some of that risk, allowing you to secure the loan anyway.

This means you can buy a home with a low credit score, a smaller than usual down payment, and save on some closing costs.

How do I qualify for an FHA Loan?

To find out if you qualify for an FHA loan, you’ll head to the same place as a traditional mortgage--a mortgage lender. Oftentimes, you can simply call or visit the website of lenders to get the process started.

As with all things, it’s a good idea to shop around for a mortgage lender. Their offerings will be largely similar, but there might be minor differences that make one better than another for your particular circumstances.

Down payment requirements

To secure an FHA loan, you will need to make a down payment of at least 3.5%. However, this low down payment comes with a price. You’ll typically be required to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) fees on top of your accruing interest for your loan.

Credit score requirements

While you can often secure a mortgage with a lower credit score through an FHA loan, there are still some requirements. To secure a loan with the lowest possible down payment (3.5%), you’ll need a credit score of 580 or above.

Previous homeowners and FHA loans

A common misconception about FHA loans is that they are only for first-time homeowners. However, you can still qualify for an FHA loan if you’ve owned a home before as long as it has been three years since you’ve had a foreclosure or two years since filing for bankruptcy.

If you meet these three conditions, you should be able to secure an FHA loan through a traditional mortgage lender.




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