April 21, 2019

The Home Buying Process

Steps to Buying a Home

Step 1: Check Your Credit Report & Score

Before getting a mortgage or any kind of loan, you should always check your credit. According to the law, you're allowed to receive one free copy of your credit report per year. You can do this by visiting Annualcreditreport.com. Scores range from approximately 300 to 850; generally, the higher your score, the better loan you'll qualify for. Don't forget to check your report for errors. If there are any, dispute them. It may help your credit score. You can also check your credit score for free at www.creditkarma.com.

Step 2: Figure out How Much You Can Afford

You can calculate how much you can afford by starting online. There are several online mortgage calculators that will help you calculate an affordable monthly mortgage payment. Don't forget to factor in money you'll need for a down payment, closing costs, fees (such as fees for an attorney, appraisal, inspection, etc.) and the costs of remodeling or furniture. Remember that you don't always have to put down 20 percent as your parents once did. There are loans available with little to no down payment. An experienced home loan expert can help you understand all your loan options, closing costs and other fees.

Step 3: Find the Right Lender and Real Estate Agent

To find the right mortgage lender it’s best to shop around. Get recommendations from your friends and family and check with the Better Business Bureau. Talk to at least three or four mortgage lenders. Ask lots of questions and make sure they have answers that satisfy you. Make sure to find someone that you are comfortable with and who makes you feel at ease.

Once you have the right mortgage lender, make sure you at least get a pre-approval. Qualifications are only a guess based on what you tell the lender and are no guarantee, whereas a pre-approval will give you a better idea of how big a loan you qualify for. The lender will actually pull your credit and get more information about you. However, you could even take it one step further by getting an actual approval before you start home shopping. That way, when you're ready to make an offer, it will make the sale go much quicker. Besides, your offer will look more appealing than other buyers since your financing is guaranteed.

Step 4: Look for the Right Home

Make a list of the things you'll need to have in the house. Ask yourself how many bedrooms and bathrooms you'll need and get an idea of how much space you desire. How big do you want the kitchen to be? Do you need lots of closets and cabinet space? Do you need a big yard for your kids and/or pets to play in?

Once you've made a list of your must-have's, don't forget to think about the kind of neighborhood you want, types of schools in the area, the length of your commute to and from work, and the convenience of local shopping. Take into account your safety concerns as well as how good the rate of home appreciation is in the area.

Step 5: Make an Offer on the Home

Now that you've found the home you want, you have to make an offer. Most sellers price their homes a bit high, expecting that there will be some haggling involved. A decent place to start is about five percent below the asking price. You can also get a list from your real estate agent to find out how much comparable have sold for. Once you've made your offer, don't think it's final. The seller may make a counter-offer to which you can also counter-offer. But you don't want to go back and forth too much. Somewhere, you have to meet in the middle. Once you've agreed on a price, you'll make an earnest, which is money that goes in escrow to give the seller a sign of good faith.

Step 6: Get the Right Mortgage for Your Situation

There are many different types of mortgage programs out there, but as a first-time home buyer, you should be aware of the three basics: adjustable rate, fixed rate and interest-only.

Adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) are short-term mortgages that offer an interest rate that is fixed for a short period of time, usually between one to seven years. After that, the interest rate can adjust every year up or down, depending on the market. These are good for people who don't plan on living in their home very long and/or are looking for a lower interest rate and payment.

Fixed-rate mortgages are more traditional and offer a fixed interest rate (and thus a fixed monthly payment) for a longer period of time, usually 15 or 30 years, though they're available in 20 or 25 year terms. These are good for people who like a predictable payment and plan on living in their home for a long time.

Both fixed and adjustable rate mortgages can have an interest-only payment. What this means is that for a certain amount of time during the loan term, you're allowed to pay only enough to cover the interest portion of your payment. You can still pay principal when you wish, but don't have to if your budget is tight. There is a myth that with interest-only mortgages, you don't build equity. This is not necessarily true, since you can build equity through home appreciation. The benefit to interest-only mortgages is that you increase your cash flow by not paying principal.

Remember to ask your mortgage lender or mortgage banker lots of questions about which mortgage is right for you and your situation.

Step 7: Close on Your Home

Make sure you get a home inspection before you close. It will be well-worth the money spent since it ensures the property's structural soundness and good condition.

Setting the closing date that is convenient to both parties may be tricky, but can certainly be done. Remember that you may have to wait until your rental agreement runs out and the seller may have to wait until they close on their new house.

Be sure you talk to your mortgage banker to understand all the costs that will be involved with the closing so there are no surprises. Closing costs will likely include (but are not limited to) your down payment, title fees, appraisal fees, attorney fees, inspection fees, and points you may have bought to buy down your interest rate.

Step 8: Move In!

You've got your mortgage, closed the deal and now it's time to move in! Whether you use a mover or not is up to you, depending on your financial situation and how much stuff you have to move; perhaps also, whether you have a lot of friends willing to help you move. Either way, you're done with the home buying process! Just start unpacking and start enjoying your first home! Buying a home for the first time doesn't have to be a hassle if you're prepared and you know what to do and when to do it. Choose an experienced home loan lender and a friendly, knowledgeable real estate agent-they are the key to helping you have a smooth home buying experience!

Posted in Home Buying Tips
April 10, 2019

How To Guide For First-Time Home Buyers

8-Step Guide to Buying a Home

Buying a home is probably one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your lifetime.  We’ve outlined all of the steps of buying a home so don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

Step One: Finding Out How Much You Can Afford To Spend On A Home


One of the most exciting aspects about buying a home is the process of choosing the ones you like. Going online to our website, www.bestutahproperty.com is a great place to start your home search. But before you get your heart set on something, find out first what you can afford.

An excellent mortgage lender like Cari Meabon (featured on our website), will go over your financial situation with you by checking on your credit score, your monthly income, and how much debt you are currently paying off. After crunching the numbers, your lender will then come up with the maximum amount you’ll be allowed to borrow in order to buy a home.

Step Two: Determining What Type of Mortgage Best Suits You



There are many different types of mortgages that you can choose from, all depending upon your specific situation. Your loan officer help you determine the type of loan that best suits you.

For example, if you’re a member of the military, then you can look into a Veterans Affairs loan. If you can only put down a 3% down payment, you may qualify for an FHA loan. If you have a substantial down payment and want your loan payments to be steady, then a 30-year fixed rate loan might be the most ideal option.

Step Three: Getting A Pre-Approval Letter


Once you’ve chosen a mortgage lender, she will figure out how much you can spend on a home. Knowing this will help you and your realtor find you a home you can actually afford.

You’ll be required to submit pay stubs and bank statements from the past several months, as well as submit copies of your tax records. After this, you’ll be given a pre-approval letter for a specific amount.  

In today’s competitive market, this letter will reassure a seller’s real estate agent that your loan will be approved. This pre-approval gives you a big advantage since it will put you ahead of other potential buyers who haven't gone through the process ahead of time.


Step Four: Hire A Professional Real Estate Agent



Don’t make the biggest decision of your life without the help of a realtor. Find a real estate agent who knows the area and who has the expertise and knowledge about the current real estate market. 

A professional realtor will help you with: 1) locating good properties and setting up appointments to go and see the houses; 2) Identifying potential problems with the exterior or interior; 3) filling out the offer paperwork properly; 4) negotiating terms with the seller’s agent; and 5) making sure all the rules are being followed so the transaction will be as smooth as possible.

Step Five: Make An Offer


Once you’ve found a home that you love, it is time to make an offer!

This is where an experienced agent really shows her value because she can help you decide what the best offer price should be.  Whether it's a sellers market or a buyer' s market, the agent can help you navigate the nuances of a buyer/seller negotiation...should you offer above the list price or below it?

Once you come to an agreement on an offer price, your realtor will help you fill out the Real Estate Purchase Contract and submit it to the seller’s agent.

Step Six: Secure Your Financing


You offer has been accepted—hooray! It's time to lock in your interest rate.

Once your offer has been accepted by the seller, it’s time to secure your financing by meeting with your lender to fill out a mortgage application.  

The application includes questions about the home you want to buy, and what type of loan you are planning on getting (i.e. FHA loan, VA loan, interest only loan, or fixed rate loan).

Once all of this is complete, your application will go to the underwriting phase. The underwriter is responsible for checking over the lender’s work, making sure that all documents are in compliance with lending guidelines.

Step Seven: The Home Inspection


Although it's not required, get the home inspected before you seal the deal. A home inspection will reveal any issues the home may have, from small things like a leaky faucet, to big things like roof damage, mold, or issues with the home’s heating and air conditioning system.

If any major problems are found, you can then go back to the seller and try to re-negotiate the purchase price or ask the seller to cover the cost of repairs.


Step Eight: Move Into Your New Home!


Congratulations! You are a homeowner!  It is now time to pack up and move into your new home.

Give Steph and Sue Ann a call today to help you with your Salt Lake home search! We can be reached by phone (801) 949-7089, by email stephandsueann@bestutahproperty.com or you can sign onto our website at https://www.bestutahproperty.com/.


Posted in Home Buying Tips
April 5, 2019

Why is Daybreak So Popular? Steph and Sue Ann Know!



What’s all the buzz about Daybreak? South Jordan’s community on Oquirrh Lake is a beautifully designed wonder, with something for every type of buyer. When you’re looking for a home and location that successfully checks off every item on your “Must Haves” list, prepare to be amazed at how Daybreak manages to fill in all the boxes - and how it’s more affordable than other areas.


Floor Plans for Everyone: Daybreak has a variety of neighborhoods that offer a great range of floor plans. It’s desirable for buyers like young families looking for yards, room to roam, and excellent schools - and also for Millennials who want to hang on to their urban conveniences and walkability features with their townhouse -  as well as for couples who are interested in finding something more streamlined after retirement, or who wish to take advantage of a custom build. The beauty of a master-planned community is that it has a wide range of home possibilities - all with access to exemplary features.


Activities for Your Lifestyle: A main factor in the Daybreak design is the Five-Minute Rule: Residents should be able to get to a park, trail, or even shops with a five-minute walk. So what’s out there? Shops, restaurants, lake activities, walking, running, and biking, pools, community gardens, events...you can stay as busy as you’d like, year-round.


Accessibility: Even though you feel like you’re in a deliciously different world in Daybreak, the town center is still situated on the Mountain View Corridor and the TRAX Light Rail Line. Although, with things like the Library, Harmons Market, and the South Jordan Care Navigation Center arriving this year, you can keep it even more local.



The Latest in Architecture: No matter the type of home you’re looking for, Daybreak has great designs. Each is built with the latest in Energy Star technology. The floor plans are innovative and fresh. And, all around, the HOA oversees details that keep it from looking like streets filled with cookie-cutter homes. It’s an attractive, vibrant community that has personality and livability throughout all its neighborhoods.


Need help finding the perfect new home in Daybreak? We know the community well and can help you find your perfect match. Check out our current South Jordan and Daybreak listings on our website: www.bestutahproperty.com. Or email us at stephandsueann@bestutahproperty.com

March 26, 2019

Bounce into Spring With 5 Great Clean-Up Tips


Now that Daylight Savings Time has rolled around, it seems like there are more hours in the day to tackle some of those chores that we put off all winter. If you’re thinking about putting your home on the market this Spring in the Salt Lake City area, then it’s the perfect time to tackle a good house cleaning. Not only does it feel great to freshen up your home - it will make staging the rooms for home showings much easier. If you look at the home selling process as a great time to get a new start and pare down your belongings, it’s a great motivation! Here are our 5 favorite tips for a successful spring cleanup.

Start organizing ahead of time


If you know that there’s going to be packing in your future, get ahead of the game by organizing and simplifying now. It’s the ideal time to do a little household inventory. Round up those out-of-season decorations and sports equipment items, pack up the clothing you won’t be wearing for two more seasons, and put it all away neatly in labeled boxes. While you’re at it, scrutinize your stuff,  pull out anything you don’t use any longer, and mark them for the donation basket. You’re on your way!

Go ahead and declutter


Putting your home on the market means that you’ll want to present it to potential buyers with as few distractions as possible. It’s much easier to imagine living in a space that has minimal clutter and personal items. Be as ruthless as you can, and safely pack up these pieces now. If you’re living in Sugarhouse or Millcreek, where homes typically have less storage, you may want to rethink your current arrangements and look into off-site storage units at this point. Keeping your extra items out of the house will give you more breathing room and more spacious overall look. Bonus: there will be less for you to clean, now!


Clean once for you, and once for guests



Do you have your rubber gloves and cleaning supplies ready? Okay - the secret to a good deep cleaning is to first clean everything that you usually cover in your routine - and then step back and look at your home as a guest would. That’s right: Get into corners, clean up baseboards, scrub up cabinet doors, and sparkle up your light fixtures. This may be the time to finally use all those vacuum cleaner attachments you’ve been wondering about! When you’re done, take a walk through your entire home, starting at the front door. Imagine it’s your first time visiting, and see if you’ve missed anything. You know what? It’s going to look great!


Don’t forget the garage


Yep, prospective buyers will want to see what the garage looks like, too. Is there an oil stain on the floor? Are there cobwebs in the corners? Could you tidy up and store anything away? Look into power-washing the floors, replacing light bulbs, and touching up any paint, too. Whether it’s a 1-car garage in the Avenues, or 3-car garage in Sandy - a tidy, clean-smelling space can really help raise the total appeal of your home to buyers. You never know who is looking for a good workspace or a place to park their prized project car.  Looks even better now, right?

Give your home exterior a lift, too

Don’t forget about curb appeal! Even if it’s a bit early to update your flower beds, you can still make them look sharp by adding fresh mulch. Use that pressure washer you brought out for the garage floor to clean up your driveway, make sure your mailbox isn’t sagging, and do some work on the approach to your front door. Really, it’s just like your mom always told you: First impressions count. Take a slow walk up to your house and look for anything that could use some elbow grease. Your home will now look terrific inside and out!


Spring cleaning can be the perfect kick-off to putting your home on the market. When you’re ready to sell your home in Saratoga Springs, Cottonwood Heights,  Salt Lake City, or anywhere in between, you can rely on the experience of Steph and Sue Ann - RealtyOne Group Signature to help you navigate every aspect of the process, from staging your home to the sale itself.  Be sure to check out the home valuation page on our website, www.bestutahproperty.com to get an instant and accurate home valuation. Happy Spring!

Posted in Home Selling Tips