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Home Buyer “To Do” List

by Melissa Thompson

If you are thinking about purchasing a home, there are several things you should do before you even start your home search.  While it’s exciting to look at properties and imagine what your life will be like in a new house, you might be setting yourself up for disappointment and heartbreak if you aren’t prepared for all the steps involved in the home-buying process.  So, do your homework and make sure you are truly ready to find the home of your dreams!

  1. Determine What You Can Afford - You don’t want to find the perfect property and then find out it’s out of reach for you.   Determine how much you can afford for a mortgage payment and create a maximum budget for what you are willing to pay for a house. Your mortgage payment should take up no more than 28% of your income.  If you are currently paying rent or a mortgage payment that is less than what you anticipate for your future home, start saving the difference each month to make sure you are willing and able to live on that.  You don’t want to be house poor.  Home Affordability Calculator
     
  2. Check Your Credit - You can request free credit reports from Annual Credit Report .com.  Check the reports thoroughly for any errors or negative information.  Take the steps needed to improve your credit score.  A higher credit score will possibly qualify you for lower interest rates, which will make your purchase more affordable.
     
  3. Meet with a Lender - Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is vital to the home-buying process, especially in a seller’s market where there might be bidding wars.  Sellers are more likely to choose a potential buyer who has already been pre-approved over one who hasn’t.  It will also help you identify the documents you will need for the final loan application. 
     
  4. Save For a Down Payment- Your meeting with the loan officer will also help you determine how much cash you will need for a down payment.
     
  5. Get Organized - Gather documents you will need for your final loan application and start a house-hunting binder.  As you start looking at homes, you can add any materials you collect along the way.
     
  6. Start Considering Where You Want to Live - If you don’t already have a specific neighborhood in mind, start investigating different areas within your price range.  Visit neighborhoods at different times to get a feel for what it might be like to live there.  Consider things like what your work commute will be and what amenities you want.
     
  7. Take a Home Buyer Education Course - If you are a first-time home buyer, these classes can help you prepare for the responsibilities of being a home owner.
     
  8. Find a Realtor - Choose an experienced real estate professional like Melissa Thompson to represent your interests.

Taking these steps before you start your home-search will make the whole home-buying process easier!  Call Melissa Thompson at (901) 729-9526 and let her guide you through the home buying process today!

Photo Credit: mentalfloss.com

Down Payment - What You Need to Know About Using a Monetary Gift

by Melissa Thompson

Coming up with the money needed for a down payment on a house is not easy for many people.  Some are lucky enough to have someone (or several people) give them cash as a gift to go towards purchasing a home.  No doubt, that is a wonderful thing!  But there are guidelines that must be followed when using financial gifts for your down payment.

Using gifted funds to buy a home is not as simple as it sounds.  First, the money can’t come from just anyone.  Lenders want the money to come from a family member, such as a parent, grandparent or sibling.  You can also receive gifts from your spouse, domestic partner or significant other if you’re engaged to be married.

You may or may not be able to use gifted money for your entire down payment. It depends on the type of loan you are seeking.  If you are taking out a Conventional Loan, all your down payment can come from a gift if you are putting down 20 percent or more.  If you are putting down less than 20 percent, you must include some money of your own.  With FHA and VA loans, the entire amount can be gifted unless your credit score is less than 620, in which case you will have to come up with 3.5 percent of the down payment yourself. No matter what type of loan you apply for, you can only use gifted funds to purchase a primary residence or a second home.

In addition to there being restrictions about who can give you money, you will also have to prove that the money is a gift.  You will need to provide a gift letter that includes the name of the donor, their relationship to you, the date and amount of the gift and a statement that says the money is given with no expectation of repayment.  Both you and the donor must sign the letter. 

While it’s not necessary, it is a good idea to have the gift in your bank account prior to applying for a loan. That way when your lender looks through your bank statements for the previous few months, they will already see documentation of the gift.

If someone has given you money to go toward a down payment, Melissa Thompson can help you find your dream house.  Give her a call today at 901-729-9526!

Buying a Home Can Be Scary... Unless You Know the Facts

by Melissa Thompson

Some Highlights:

Many potential homebuyers believe that they need a 20% down payment and a 780 FICO® score to qualify to buy a home, which stops many of them from even trying! Here are some facts:

  • 40% of millennials who purchased homes this year have put down less than 10%.
  • 76.4% of loan applications were approved last month.
  • The average credit score of approved loans was 724 in September.

Let the experts at The Melissa Thompson Team help you decide if now is the right time for you to purchase a home! 901-729-9526 or [email protected].

By: KCM Crew

View our Video Blog

The Mortgage Process: What You Need to Know

by Melissa Thompson

Some Highlights:

  • Many buyers are purchasing a home with a down payment as little as 3%.
  • You may already qualify for a loan, even if you don't have perfect credit.
  • Take advantage of the knowledge of your local professionals who are there to help you determine how much you can afford.

Let the experts at The Melissa Thompson Team help you decide if now is the right time for you to purchase a home! 901-729-9526 or [email protected].

View our Video Blog

By: KCM Crew

Get Pre-Approved and Stand Out from the Crowd!

by Melissa Thompson

Across the country right now, the number of buyers seeking homes far outnumbers the number of homes available.  Because of this, the housing market is super competitive and buyers often need to do something to stand out.  One way to show that you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.

Even in a less competitive market, knowing your budget will give you security of knowing if a home is within your reach.

One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you with this process.  Once you have chosen a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with vital information regarding your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.

There are 4 Cs that aid in determining the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

  • Capacity: Your current and future ability to make payments.
  • Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash.
  • Collateral: The home or type of home that you want to purchase.
  • Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time.

Getting pre-approved not only shows sellers you are serious, but also speeds up the process of completing the purchase once your offer has been accepted.

Many people overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage.  If you are ready to buy, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised at what you can afford!

Thinking about buying your own Memphis TN home, Call your local expert’s at The Melissa Thompson Team 901-729-9526.

The Mortgage Process: What You Need To Know

by Melissa Thompson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Highlights:

  • Many buyers are purchasing a home with a down payment as little as 3%.
  • You may already qualify for a loan, even if you don't have perfect credit.
  • Take advantage of the knowledge of your local professionals who are there to help you determine how much you can afford.

 

How Long Does It Take To Save A Down Payment?

by Melissa Thompson

How Long Does It Take To Save A Down Payment? | Keeping Current Matters

In a recent study conducted by Builder.com, researchers determined that nationwide it would take “nearly eight years” for a first-time buyer to save enough for a down payment on their dream home.

Depending on where you live, median rents, incomes and home prices all vary. By determining the percentage a renter spends on housing in each state and the amount needed for a 10% down payment, they were able to establish how long (in years) it would take for an average resident to save.

According to the study, residents in South Dakota are able to save for a down payment the quickest in just under 3.5 years. Below is a map created using the data for each state:

Years Needed to Save 10% Down | Keeping Current Matters

What if you only needed to save 3%?

What if you were able to take advantage of one of the Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae 3% down programs? Suddenly saving for a down payment no longer takes 5 or 10 years, but becomes attainable in under two years in many states as shown in the map below.

Years Needed to Save 3% Down | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Whether you have just started to save for a down payment, or have been for years, you may be closer to your dream home than you think! Meet with a local real estate professional who can help you evaluate your ability to buy today.

 

The Cost of Waiting to Buy a Home

by Melissa Thompson
 

The Cost Of Waiting To Buy A Home | Keeping Current Matters

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released their July edition of the Housing Affordability Index. The index measures whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home at the national level based on the most recent price and income data.

NAR looks at the monthly mortgage payment (principal & interest) which is determined by the median sales price and mortgage interest rate at the time. With that information, NAR calculates the income necessary for a family to qualify for that mortgage amount (based on a 25% qualifying ratio for monthly housing expense to gross monthly income and a 20% down payment).

Here is a graph of the income needed to buy a median priced home in the country over the last several years:

Qualifying income | Keeping Current Matters

And the income requirement has accelerated even more dramatically this year as prices have risen:

Qualifications | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Some buyers may be waiting to save up a larger down payment. Others may be waiting for a promotion and more money. Just realize that, while you are waiting, the requirements are also changing.

 

 

Melissa Thompson has distinguished herself as a leader in the Memphis TN real estate market. Melissa assists buyers looking for Memphis real estate for sale and aggressively markets Memphis TN homes for sale.

Melissa brings with her a keen eye for the details of buying or selling a Memphis TN home and seemingly boundless determination and energy, which is why her clients benefit from her unique brand of real estate service. Rooted in Tradition, Focused on the Future –Melissa Thompson will help make the most of your Memphis TN real estate experience. Give her a call today, 901-756-8900, and discover the difference she can make during your family’s next move.

Search greater Memphis Real Estate For Sale

64.2% of Millennials Put Down Less than 20%

by Melissa Thompson
 

64.2% of Millennials Put Down Less than 20% | Keeping Current Matters

Digital Risk recently polled Millennials about the housing market. Among their findings was the fact that nearly two-thirds of the generation who have recently purchased a home, have done so with less than 20% down; with 36% putting down less than 5%!

Here is a graph detailing the results:

Millennial Down Payments | Keeping Current Matters

This means that more and more American’s between the ages of 18 and 34 stopped paying their landlord’s mortgage and started building their own family’s wealth.

Millennials aren’t the only ones taking advantage of lower down payments.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that if the down payment required to purchase a home went from 20% to 5%, a renter’s Willingness To Pay (WTP) increased by 40%.

Willingness To Pay | Keeping Current Matters

The problem is that thirty-six percent of Americans still think a 20% down payment is always required when buying a home. Many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined with new programs that have emerged allowing less cash out of pocket.

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many renters now realizing that the home of your dreams is obtainable now, contact a local real estate professional who can guide you through the process.

 

Freddie Mac’s New 3% Down Program

by Melissa Hayes Thompson

Freddie Mac's New 3% Down Program | Keeping Current Matters

Today, Freddie Mac is scheduled to start buying mortgages with down payments of only three percent – the first time down payments have been this low on Freddie Mac loans in nearly five years. The program is called Freddie Mac Home Possible AdvantageSM.

In a recent Executive Perspectives, Dave Lowman EVP, Single-Family BusinessFreddie Mac, explained the potential impact this program will have on the housing market:

“There's a new reason Realtors and lenders may expect more qualified borrowers at the closing table during this spring's home buying season. In addition to low mortgage rates and rising job growth, the down payment hurdle is starting to shrink for creditworthy borrowers, including first-time homebuyers.”

And the mortgage industry agrees with Mr. Lowman. In a recent survey of mortgage originators by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), it was revealed that most loan officers believe the move to a lower down payment will increase access to mortgage credit. Here are that survey’s findings:

Down Payment Survey | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Many potential buyers are “ready and willing” to buy a home but have been afraid they may not be “able” because of a lack of adequate savings for a down payment. Check with a local real estate or mortgage professional to understand what the new rules may mean to you.

 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 11

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Photo of Melissa Thompson Real Estate
Melissa Thompson
Crye-Leike Realtors
6525 N Quail Hollow Road
Memphis TN 38120
(901) 729-9526
(901) 756-8900
Fax: (901) 435-0620