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Keys to Buying a Second Home

(TNS)—If you’ve been thinking about buying a second home, now is a good time to take the leap. Mortgage rates are still historically low.

But there are some vital things to do before you start shopping. Follow these steps to make buying a second home a smooth process:

The best way to start the search for a second home is to find a real estate agent who is familiar with your desired location. This person could provide you information about neighborhoods, market prices and the pros and cons of particular properties.

With an eye toward the long-term value of a property, the agent could fill you in on price histories and how comparable sales have fared, and resale prospects. Factors that tend to help properties hold or increase in value are proximity to a major metropolitan area, ease of access and the availability of year-round amenities.

Factor in additional costs. Today’s second-homebuyers are more interested in enjoying their properties rather than getting a quick return on their investment.

Still, you should consider that you will be away from the property a lot of the time, which usually entails additional costs, such as having a management company check the place in your absence for water leaks, frozen pipes and other problems.

Getting insurance for a second home may be more challenging than it is for a primary residence. If you are considering a second home on the beach, for example, you’ll need flood insurance in addition to regular home insurance. It has become more difficult to get flood insurance in coastal communities, and the cost has increased greatly in some markets.

Be sure you can afford two mortgages. You have to qualify for a second-home mortgage, which is on top of any mortgage debt on your primary home.

Typically, you will need to make a down payment of at least 10 percent, meet credit standards and debt-to-income requirements, and provide documents for income and asset verification.

If you have a good relationship with the mortgage lender on your primary residence, that might be a good place to start your quest for a second-home mortgage.

Take into account the tax implications of your purchase. If you use your home as a true second home, you could get a deduction for mortgage interest and property taxes, just as you do with your first-home mortgage.

Be aware that under the new federal tax law, the cap to the mortgage interest deduction will be lowered from $1 million to $750,000. So if you already have a $750,000 mortgage and get a loan for a vacation home, you won’t be able to deduct the interest on the second mortgage.

If you rent out your second home, you will have to consider additional tax ramifications, particularly if the rental period extends beyond 14 days a year.

©2018 Bankrate.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Ask the Expert: Can a Home Inspection Help the Mortgage Process Along?

Steward_Dan_132pxToday’s Ask the Expert column features Dan Steward, president of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors.

Q: Should sellers get a home inspection to help the mortgage process along?

A: If you’re a seller, it behooves you to get your own home inspection prior to putting your house on the market. But why spend money on one when the buyer will surely get their own?

Buyers that see a recent home inspection along with the listing sheet already realize that the asking price of the home is likely justified. They can rest assured that there are no scary surprises waiting for them upon closing. And you can hasten an offer by having that report right in front of serious buyers when they’re considering putting in an offer.

This also establishes a sense of trust between the buyer and the seller from the start. It shows the buyer that you care enough to get details and minor problems with the house detected and fixed before they even put in an offer.

If your home inspector shows you minor items that may come up in the buyer’s home inspection, you can have the issues looked at and repaired before the buyer even has their report done. You will have time for bids on a job instead of rushing to pay a higher price for the work, or, worse, having to deduct from the agreed upon price. In fact, you can show the report and a receipt proving the problem was already addressed by a licensed professional.

Having a good report readily available also shows the buyer that you’ve most likely been maintaining the property all along, which is another terrific plus when selling.

Mitigating risk is key when selling a home. Since laws regarding disclosures vary from state to state, for the most part, you as the seller are responsible even after a closing if something has been hidden or unreported to the buyer. Taking the time to have your own inspection will allow you to have repairs made for a cost that suits your budget, instead of having to deal with credits the buyer may ask for as the result of their home inspection. By getting a pre-inspection, you have proof that home maintenance issues, to the best of your knowledge, didn’t exist at the time of sale.

The only instance when it may not pay for a seller to proceed with a pre-inspection is when they’re selling a fixer-upper. In this case, the buyer already knows what to expect, and they should have a thorough home inspection completed before signing on the dotted line.

For more information, please visit www.pillartopost.com.

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6 Things You Must Do Before Buying a Home

(TNS)—Buying a home is a huge investment—probably the most significant purchase of your life. It’s not something you should do without preparation.

Before you start on the road to homeownership, make sure you are ready.

Improve your credit score.
A high credit score snags you the best deals. “Below 660 or 680, you’re either going to have to pay sizable fees or a higher down payment,” says Barry Zigas, director of Housing Policy for the Consumer Federation of America.

A score of 700 to 720 can get you a good deal, and 750 and above can garner the best rates on the market.

Pull your credit reports and make sure you’re not penalized for old, paid or settled debts.

Stop applying for new credit a year before you apply for a mortgage. Keep the moratorium in place until after you close on your home.

Figure out what you can afford.
There are various ways to determine how much house you can afford. If you’re using an FHA loan, your monthly payment can’t exceed 31 percent of your monthly income. The FHA will let you go higher under some circumstances.

For conventional loans, home expenses should not exceed 28 percent of your gross monthly income, says Susan Tiffany, retired director of Personal Finance Publications for adults for the Credit Union National Association, or CUNA.

Use Bankrate’s calculator to figure out how much house you can afford. Add to that other housing expenses, such as taxes, insurance and utilities. Then, bank the difference between that total and what you’re paying now.

Save for a down payment and closing costs.
You’ll need to save between 3 percent and 20 percent of the house price for a down payment. Your credit history and loan terms help determine how much you’ll need to come up with.

For example, with an FHA loan, the down payment requirement can be as low as 3.5 percent. You’ll need a credit score of at least 580. Home loans backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, require no down payment.

Another cash expense will be closing costs. The national average for closing costs for a $200,000 mortgage is $2,084, according to Bankrate’s latest survey.

If a big down payment is a hardship, look for down payment assistance. Search online using the city name, the county name and key word combinations such as “down payment assistance,” “first-time homebuyers” or “homebuyer’s assistance.”

Down payment assistance often is based on location or reserved for particular buyers, such as first-time buyers. In a buyer’s market, you can negotiate to have the seller pay a portion of the closing costs.

Build a healthy savings account.
Building up your savings—not just for a home—is very important. Your lender wants to know that you’re not living paycheck to paycheck. If you have three to five months’ worth of mortgage payments set aside, you’re a much better loan candidate. Some lenders and backers, like the FHA, will give you more latitude on other criteria if they see that you have a cash cushion.

That money will also help pay for maintenance and repairs of the home. Most repairs are sporadic, but big-ticket fixes such as a new roof or water heater can come up suddenly and drain your budget.

A good rule of thumb is to assume that you’ll spend 2.5 to 3 percent of your home’s value each year on upkeep and repairs. If you buy a $250,000 home, aim to save $520 to $625 per month.

Get preapproved for a mortgage.
Before you start house shopping, you should get your financing in place.

“The No. 1 thing is (homebuyers) better have everything in order,” says Dick Gaylord, of RE/MAX Real Estate Specialists in Long Beach, Calif., and a former president of the National Association of REALTORS®.

Gaylord says you should get a mortgage preapproval “before you walk through the first house.” Otherwise, “How do you know how much you can afford?”

Buy a house you like.
Short-term homeownership can be expensive, depending on how much you put down and what it cost you to sell your old house and move.

To get a home that will make you happy, don’t count on a quick purchase. Step back and make certain the house you’re considering is one that will fit the needs of you and your family.

©2018 Bankrate.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post 6 Things You Must Do Before Buying a Home appeared first on RISMedia.

 

Home Buyers: You can automatically receive personalized Chautauqua County MLS listings by e-mail. Simply choose Free Home Finder and fill in the requested information. Early each morning we will search the local MLS and find the properties that match your criteria and notify you immediately with the latest listing information!!

 

Chautauqua County Home Sellers 

If you're planning to sell your home in the next few months, this FREE service is designed to help establish your home's current market value. Simply choose My Home's Value and fill out the requested information. We will use comparable sold listings to help you calculate the fair market value of your home and return it to you by email. 

 

About Chautauqua

Chautauqua County occupies the extreme southwest corner of New York State. The county takes its name from the largest lake in the area, which is twenty miles long and 1,308 feet above sea level. At one end is located Mayville, the county seat and at the other end is the city of Jamestown. 

Outstanding recreational opportunities exist in the county, from hiking and biking on the county's public trail systems, to fishing, boating and canoeing on the lakes, to skiing and snowmobiling. The famous Chautauqua Institution, founded in 1874 and located on Chautauqua Lake, hosts educational and cultural programs each summer. 
-courtesy of the Chautauqua County Government

 

Your Real Estate Advantage

For over twenty years, Real Estate Advantage has been serving buyers, sellers and renters in Chautauqua County. We are a full service brokerage and we also provide property management services. With over 23 agents to assist you, we feel we are one of the most knowledgeable and experienced agencies in the area. We offer full disclosure to buyers and will work at your pace. Please call us today and let us help you start a life of living on Lake Chautauqua! 

Chautauqua Lake Real Estate and Vacation Rentals 800-707-2295 
Serving Chautauqua Lake, Jamestown, Lakewood, Mayville and Bemus Point

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