Joseph Reidy's Blog
You may have heard the term “escrow” in your experience with real estate. You might know it’s an account, but what exactly does it do for you as a buyer? An escrow account is what your lender uses to make payments on things like property taxes, insurance, and more. The lender collects your monthly mortgage payment, and part of that cash goes into an escrow account.
This type of account is an excellent option for homeowners because your bills relating to being a homeowner will all be paid without you having to do anything. It makes budgeting a breeze because there aren’t any complicated calculations involved. Every month, your lender collects 1/12 of the estimated tax bill and insurance cost for the home. The rest of your mortgage payment covers the principal and interest on the loan of the house.
Are Escrow Accounts Mandatory?
You’ll find that most lenders require you to have an escrow account. The purpose of the account is to keep the home safe as collateral for the loan. The bank has an interest in the proper insurance behind the property. The taxes also need to be paid on time in order to keep the property in good standing. If the taxes aren’t paid, a tax lien will be placed against the house.
Everything In One Place
You’ll receive an annual statement from your lender that will show you how much money was collected and placed in your escrow account. Escrow payments often change because insurance premiums and taxes tend to change quite frequently. The amount being put into escrow may change a few times throughout the year. The lender keeps track of all this for you, saving you some time.
Bills That Need To Be Paid
Whether you have an escrow account or not the bills that are included must be paid one way or another. It’s a good idea to speak with your lender before you buy a home to find out that bank’s procedures around these insurance and tax payments. Property tax and home insurance are items that you’ll need to budget for regardless of how your lender does things. An escrow account can be much more convenient for many buyers.
Escrow is just another one of the many essential terms that you’ll come across as a homebuyer. Knowing the advantages and purpose of the account helps you to be informed as you dive into the home buying process.
Let's face it – most homebuyers have limited time and resources at their disposal. As such, it is crucial for buyers to do everything possible to optimize their time and resources throughout the property buying journey. Because if a buyer maximizes his or her time and resources, this individual can boost the likelihood of enjoying a successful homebuying experience.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help a homebuyer get the most out of his or her time and resources.
1. Craft a Homebuying Strategy
If you know you want to buy a home, you should develop a property buying strategy. That way, you can map out the steps you'll need to take to find and acquire your dream residence.
A typical homebuying strategy should account for your budget, timeline and other property buying factors. If you analyze these factors, you could streamline your quest to discover your ideal house.
2. Narrow Your Home Search
You plan to buy a house as soon as possible, but you still have no idea where you want to reside. Fortunately, if you hone your house search to a few cities and towns, you may be able to quickly and effortlessly find a great home in an area you can enjoy for years to come.
As you get ready to start a home search, consider your long-term plans. For instance, if your ultimate goal is to work in a big city, you may want to focus on houses in or near major metros. Or, if you want to raise a family, you may want to search for residences near outstanding schools and parks.
In addition, perform lots of research into various cities and towns. If you conduct plenty of research, you can find out whether certain areas match or exceed your expectations and tailor your house search accordingly.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a property buying expert who understands what it takes to find a terrific residence at a budget-friendly price. Thus, if you hire a real estate agent today, you can get the help you need to reap the benefits of a seamless home search.
Oftentimes, a real estate agent will meet with you, learn about your property buying goals and craft a personalized homebuying strategy. He or she also will respond to your homebuying concerns and questions throughout the property buying journey. By doing so, a real estate agent ensures you can receive expert support as you try to find your dream house.
A real estate agent will make it simple to search for houses that fall within your budget and correspond to your homebuying criteria too. Plus, if you want homebuying recommendations or suggestions, a real estate agent is happy to provide them.
Want to enjoy a fast, successful homebuying experience? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble making the most of your time and resources as you search for your ideal house.
Want to relocate to a condo? With assistance from a real estate agent, you should have no trouble moving into the condo of your choice.
Employing a real estate agent with condo experience is ideal, particularly for property buyers who are considering condos for the first time. However, it is important to note that not all real estate professionals with condo experience are created equal, and some stand out for all the right reasons.
Ultimately, there are several factors to consider as you search for a real estate agent to help you find the perfect condo, including:
How many years has a real estate agent been assisting condo buyers? Does a real estate agent know how to get information from a homeowners' association (HOA)? And can a real estate agent set up condo showings at your convenience? These are just a few of the questions that condo buyers need to consider before they employ a real estate agent.
As a condo buyer, there is no need to settle for a subpar real estate agent. In fact, real estate agents with condo expertise are available across the country. And if you conduct a comprehensive search for the right real estate agent, you should have no trouble finding a real estate professional who can guide you along each step of the condo buying journey.
2. Communication Skills
How does a real estate agent keep in touch with his or her clients? Try to find a real estate agent who provides regular updates throughout the condo buying process. This real estate professional will make his or her clients a priority and do whatever it takes to help them get the best results possible.
Ideally, you should be able to get in touch with a real estate agent via phone, email or text. And if a real estate agent is unavailable, you usually should expect to hear back from him or her within a few hours at most.
A real estate agent who is readily available will be able to provide you with the condo buying support that you need, any time you need it. As a result, this real estate professional can keep you up to date about new condos as they become available, the state of negotiations with a condo seller and much more.
3. Client Satisfaction
Are past clients satisfied with the support that they received from a real estate agent? Ask a real estate agent for client referrals to find out.
Reaching out to past clients can provide you with a better idea about how a real estate agent will assist you during the condo buying journey. That way, you can determine whether you will feel comfortable working with this real estate agent or if you should consider other options.
Dedicate the necessary time and resources to find a great real estate agent to help you find your dream condo. By doing so, you can move one step closer to making your condo ownership dreams come true.
For those who want to acquire a house, it helps to get your finances in order. That way, you can quickly and effortlessly navigate the homebuying journey without having to worry about how you'll afford your dream house.
There are many quick, easy ways to straighten out your finances before you embark on the homebuying journey, such as:
1. Assess Your Credit Score
Your credit score ultimately can play a major role in your ability to secure a great mortgage. If you understand your credit score, you may be able to find ways to improve it prior to conducting a home search.
It is important to remember that you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Request a free copy of your credit report today, and you can take the first step to evaluate your credit score.
If you find that your credit score is low, there is no need to worry. You can always pay off outstanding debt to improve your credit score over time.
Also, if you identify any errors on your credit report, you'll want to address these mistakes immediately. In this scenario, you should contact the agency that provided the report to ensure any necessary corrections can be made.
2. Look Closely at Your Monthly Expenses
When it comes to buying a house, it generally helps to have sufficient funds for a down payment. The down payment on a house may fall between 5 and 20 percent of a home's sale price, so you'll want to have enough money available to cover this total for your dream residence.
If you evaluate your monthly expenses, you may be able to find ways to save money for a down payment on a house.
For example, it may be beneficial to cut out cable TV for the time being and use the money that you save toward a home down payment. Or, if your dine out frequently, cooking at home may prove to be a substantial money-saver that could help you speed up the process of saving for a down payment.
3. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
With pre-approval for a mortgage, you can enter the housing market with a budget in hand. Then, you'll be better equipped than ever before to narrow your search to houses that fall within your price range.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you'll want to meet with banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach you about different mortgage options and help you assess all of the options at your disposal.
Furthermore, don't hesitate to ask banks and credit unions about how different types of mortgages work. This will enable you to gain the insights that you need to make an informed decision about a mortgage based on your financial situation.
If you need extra help as you prepare to pursue a house, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. In fact, a real estate agent can help you find a high-quality house at a budget-friendly price in no time at all.
A home is one of the biggest purchases that an individual can make in his or her lifetime. It also may prove to be expensive, particularly for those who fail to plan ahead for the property buying journey.
There is no need to break your budget to acquire your dream residence. In fact, there are many quick, easy ways to guarantee you can keep you finances in check and avoid the risk of spending too much to purchase your ideal house.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to ensure you can buy a quality house at a budget-friendly price.
1. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
You want to buy a home, but you still have no idea how much you can spend on a residence. Thankfully, if you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can enter the real estate market with a budget in hand. As a result, you will know exactly how much you can spend on a house and can plan accordingly.
Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who are happy to meet with you. These mortgage specialists can review your income, credit score and other relevant financial data. Then, they can provide you with mortgage options based on your finances.
2. Narrow Your Home Search
Although most people want to buy a mansion, it is important to establish realistic homebuying expectations. Because if you narrow your home search to properties that fall within your price range, you can speed up the property buying journey. Perhaps most important, you can shop around to find a terrific home that corresponds to your budget.
Don't forget to consider homes in a variety of cities and towns too. In some instances, it may prove to be more cost-effective to purchase a house in a small town than a residence in a big city.
3. Evaluate Your Short- and Long-Term Plans
Think about your short- and long-term plans, and you may be better equipped than ever before to map out your home finances for the foreseeable future.
For instance, if you plan to raise a family in the years to come, you may want to consider the costs associated with childcare and other child expenses. This will allow you to budget properly as you search for your dream home.
On the other hand, if you recently accepted a work promotion, your income soon may rise. In this situation, you may be able to increase your homebuying budget due to the fact that extra income will be coming your way.
Lastly, as you get ready to search for a house, you may want to hire a real estate agent. In addition to helping you find a home that matches your budget, a real estate agent will offer expert guidance throughout the property buying journey. He or she will help you prepare for a home inspection, closing and other important steps during the homebuying process. By doing so, a real estate agent will help you seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey and achieve the optimal results.