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U.S. mortgage rates nudge up, yet remain near all-time low mark

For the sixth consecutive week, U.S. mortgage rates stayed below 3.30 percent, according to Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.18 percent for the week ending June 4 — up slightly from 3.15 percent last week. A year ago, mortgage rates stood at 3.82 percent.

Low mortgage rates help propel U.S. home sales and the refinance market.

“While the economy is slowly rebounding, all signs continue to point to a solid recovery in home sales activity heading into the summer as prospective buyers jump back into the market. Low mortgage rates are a key factor in this recovery,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “While homebuyer demand is up and has been broad-based across most geographies, supply has been slower to improve. In fact, the gap between supply and demand has widened even further than the large gap that existed prior to the pandemic.”

Favorable rates have been helping Dayton-area home sales, especially home prices. However, local sales fell 22 percent in April largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Dayton Realtors.

The previous record low was 3.23 percent in early May.

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Buying a House Sight Unseen? Avoid These 8 Mistakes

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From grocery shopping to home buying, it seems like almost everything can be done completely online now. The idea of buying a house without seeing it is less daunting these days with all the new technologies and ways to buy a home virtually, and it’s becoming more common. In fact, 20% of homebuyers recently made an offer sight unseen, meaning they made an offer on a home without ever seeing it in person.

Maybe you’re currently living in a condo in Chicago, but have to relocate and move to Dallas, Texas for work. Or, maybe your family is growing and you’re in a time-crunch to move into a bigger house with a yard. Whatever the reason may be, you’re likely going to be buying a home in the near future without seeing it first in person. And while it may seem risky, don’t worry. A completely remote homebuying process can still go just as smooth as it would in person, as long as you avoid these common mistakes made when buying a house sight unseen.

1. Using the first real estate agent you meet

While you might be in a time-crunch or just want to make a quick, competitive offer, you should still take the time to find the right real estate agent for you. Since you won’t be seeing the home in person, it’s important you find an agent that you trust, and knows the market and the area you’re buying in like the back of their hand.

Start by reading online reviews of real estate agents in the city you’re looking to buy, and then interview your top picks. Ask a variety of questions to determine if they’ll be a good fit for you, such as asking how many sales they’ve handled in your target neighborhoods.

2. Skipping out on a virtual tour

Seeing is believing, especially when it comes to buying a home. That’s why you shouldn’t make an offer on a home based on just those wonderful listing photos that initially caught your eye. Even if you love what you see, don’t make the mistake of not taking a virtual tour of the listing — photos can only show you so much.

If the listing has a 3D virtual walkthrough tour, you can easily see every nook and cranny of the home as if you were touring it in person. This is a great tool to use as you’re house hunting to help narrow down your top choices. However, to make sure you’re not submitting an offer unaware of the creaky floors or the lingering pet odor, it’s important to schedule a live video-chat tour with your agent. Even though you can’t be there in person, they can. And they’ll be able to answer those questions that listing photos alone cannot.

3. Forgetting to ask things that you’d normally see for yourself

When you’re house hunting in person, you’re able to use all of your senses. You can see the wonderful natural light coming into the living room, you can hear the noisy garage door, and you can smell the pet odors that are still lingering throughout the home. But when you’re buying a house without seeing it, you’re limited to only what is shown digitally.

Before you virtually tour the home with your agent, write out a list of as many questions or concerns you’d normally be able to see or check out for yourself. Be sure to include some of these questions during the video tour:

  • What can you smell in and outside the house? Maybe there’s a paper mill nearby.
  • What can you hear from the house? There could be a hospital close by or train tracks behind the home.
  • Do any appliances or features look outdated? The cabinets might’ve looked brand new because of a fresh coat of paint, but need to be replaced in the near future.
  • What is the internet and cell-phone service like? There could be a few carriers that don’t offer good coverage in that neighborhood.
  • Is there anything that stands out to you as a concern that wasn’t shown in the listing photos or 3D walkthrough?

If you’re moving to a home further out from the city and suburbs, consider asking what the wildlife situation is like or if the nearby river has ever caused flooding. Or, if you’re moving into a bustling downtown area, ask how the traffic is or what the public transportation options are like.

4. Not researching the neighborhood and surrounding area

Whether it’s because they’re excited for the house they’ve found, or they need to relocate as soon as possible, people often forget to look into the neighborhood and its surroundings. For example, the last thing you want is to move your family across Dallas for a great school, and then discover later on that your new house isn’t actually in the school district’s boundaries; or move into a new-construction home without realizing it’s a 5 minute walk from a high-crime area. If you’re moving to a neighborhood you’re already familiar with then this isn’t a big concern. However, for most people buying a house sight unseen, it’s likely that you’re not as familiar with the area.

Do your due diligence and use Google Maps to virtually walk through the neighborhood to see what the surrounding homes look like and what’s nearby. If your agent is up for it, see if they can take you on a video tour around the block. There could be new construction underway or other potential concerns that you aren’t able to see for yourself on Google Maps. Also consider joining online community groups, such as those on Facebook or Nextdoor, to gain local insights into the specific neighborhoods and communities from those actually living there.

5. Not vetting a high-quality home inspector

Whether you’re buying a house sight unseen or not, a home inspection is a crucial step in the homebuying process. It’s even more important to have this extra set of eyes from a professional when you aren’t able to see the home in person. Just as it was important to vet out your real estate agent, the same goes for choosing a home inspector. Don’t make the mistake of just hiring the first one you stumble across online. Be sure you do your research to find a reputable, qualified home inspector in the area of your new home.

6. Forgoing additional inspections

You’ll want to have a general home inspection to cover your grounds and make sure you’re aware of any problems with the home. For most, a general inspection is sufficient. However, depending on the age of the home or if there’s outside structures and features, like a pool, there’s some additional inspections you shouldn’t forgo. For example, if the home was built before 1980 (and in some cases, after that) you should consider having it checked for asbestos. Rather than showing up to your new home with unexpected surprises and issues, take the time to have it thoroughly inspected.

7. Waiving contingencies

If you’re thinking of waiving contingencies in hopes to beat out other buyers and score the home, you should think twice about that decision. If it’s a seller’s market and you want the offer to be competitive and enticing, maybe you can get by with waiving some less risky contingencies like an early move in. However, it can be a huge gamble and mistake to waive higher-risk contingencies, like a home inspection contingency or financing contingency. To protect yourself in an already tricky situation, be wary of waiving certain contingencies.

8. Expecting the process to go according to plan

A common mistake in any homebuying process is expecting it to go exactly as planned. Add in buying a house sight unseen and you’ll likely find yourself navigating the process differently. It’s important to set a realistic timeline with a buffer in case there are any hiccups along the way. For example, there’s a chance that the loan-approval process could take longer than expected or that the needed repairs to the home you made an offer on are going to take a few weeks longer.

Having a realistic expectation and planning for a few bumps along the way will help you feel at ease in case anything does stray away from the plan. Prepare all of your documents well in advance so you have all the needed information for the loan approval process. Confirm if you’re able to have a fully digital closing rather than needing to be there in person, and periodically check in with your agent to see if there’s anything needed on your end to keep the process going smoothly.

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Fix and flip quick check list

Quick check list of what to look for in a property you are considering for a fix and flip.

What to look for in a Property when assessing it for a flip.

We asked an experienced Flipper what she looks for in a house that she is considering.  And this was she looks for.

 

Living, family, dining, bed, bath rooms:

How do they look and what can you improve on? Remove walls, upgrades?

Roof:

New or Old?

Kitchen:

Rehab or remodel?

Furnace/AC:

Working or NOT?

Garage:

New doors?

Exterminator:

Termites or Roaches?

Plumbing:

Areas of concern?

Electrical:

New or old?

Driveway:

Cracks or need replacement?

Sidewalk:

Yours, or the Cities?

Exterior Surfaces:

Repainting, plastering, stucco work needed?

 

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Quick Guide for First-Time Home Buyers

Ready to buy your first home?

Ready to buy your first home?

Ready to purchase your first home?

When you finally decide to purchase your first home, it’s only natural that you feel a bit overwhelmed. It’s the most significant purchase of your life, and you want to make sure that it goes as smoothly as possible. There are a lot of things that you need to consider when purchasing a home, and you can use these tips to help take some of the stress out of the process.

 

Mortgage Pre-Approval

The first step of your home-buying process should be meeting with mortgage consultants at your bank to get pre-approved for a mortgage. The last thing that you want to happen is to fall for a house that you end up not qualifying for. In fact, there are many times where a real estate agent won’t work with you until you’ve gotten your pre-approval. The consultants are trained to understand your finances and look at everything to give you an evaluation and a pre-approval for an amount that you can afford. Once you know that number, you can start house-hunting for homes within that dollar range.

Credit is a huge part of what is taken into consideration when getting approved for a mortgage, so it’s smart to get your credit report before you begin. If you have anything lingering on your report that could be causing a negative impact, you should get it paid off. Other things taken into consideration when getting a mortgage are your income, and the down payment you have.

 

Seek Out a Real Estate Agent

There isn’t a law stating that you have to have a real estate agent when buying a home, but it’s recommended; especially for first-time home buyers. Having someone who is familiar with the process can be extremely beneficial while you’re going through it. You are going to have a lot of questions, and they have the experience to be able to answer them for you. In addition to giving advice, a real estate agent is likely going to have a broad network connection such as inspectors and insurance agents who can help you.

 

Consider Your Budget

One of the biggest considerations with the home-buying process is your budget. You may get pre-approved for a mortgage, and you may be able to afford the purchase of a home, but you should think about it too. Your lifestyle can impact the budget that you have for a home. When you take on a mortgage, it is an essential monthly payment, and doing so might mean that you cut out that weekly dinner with your friends. Realtors and financial experts suggest that you should ask yourself if you could still afford your mortgage if you lost your job and didn’t work for three months.

 

Have an Open Mind

Many people see million dollar homes for sale and have expectations that their first house is going to be like that, but it’s rarely the case. Keeping an open mind is essential. Your first home might need to be fixed up, and it might have awful wallpaper. The important thing to keep in mind is that all of it can get changed, and the fundamentals are there.

 

Consider Closing Cost

There are going to be more fees with purchasing a house that is outside of the house sell itself. That includes what you spend on a realtor and your closing costs. To ensure that you aren’t getting yourself deeper into financial debt, you should set aside two percent to contribute to those closing costs. They are going to vary depending on the property you’re purchasing, and where you live. Also, consider putting aside extra money for a rainy-day fund. When you own a home, you never know when something is going to break down.

 

Even though there are a lot of stresses that come with purchasing your first home, there is a lot of excitement, too. When you follow along with simple tips and guidelines to buy your first home, it’s helping to alleviate the stress so you can focus on all of the right things. Be smart, be logical, and enjoy the first significant purchase of your life.

 

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