Help First-Time Buyers Understand the Mortgage Language

handling mortgage related lingoObtaining a mortgage can be long and somewhat confusing, especially for first-time homebuyers. As a real estate professional, you’re well aware of the industry jargon that comes along with the process and it’s your job to clarify any questions these ‘first timers’ may have about it along the way. Review this list of handy key terms and share them with your clients to keep them up-to-date on everything going on during the financing process. Continue reading

Is the Price Right For Your Clients and Potential Buyers?

Homes.com Home ValuesYour buyer has enlisted your help with marketing their home for sale and understanding how home value plays a role in this process. Determining the ideal price is one of the best ways to get that home sold quickly. According to Steve Cook, managing editor of Real Estate Economy Watch, experts predict prices will rise 3% to 4% this year, only about one-third as much as they increased last year. That is based on expectations that interest rates will rise above 5% or even higher.

So when marketing properties for your clients, it is crucial to keep in mind what interest rates the average buyer may or may not qualify for. This will help determine the best pricing for the home that the client is placing on the market. Here are a few things you can arm your clients with so that they understand why you’ve recommended certain pricing. Continue reading

Mortgage Checklist: Help First-Time Buyers Understand the Mortgage Process!

Before your clients can start hunting for their home, they must determine how much house they can afford. As a real estate professional, you know better than anyone the obstacles that many potential buyers face when trying to obtain a mortgage. This is especially true for first-time buyers who may already be overwhelmed by the idea of making the biggest financial decision of their lives. The good news is that they have you, the local expert, to navigate them through this uncharted territory. And the even better news is that  Homes.com has created a customizable mortgage checklist for you to share with these first-timers.

Helping your clients ‘prequalify’ for a loan will provide them with a better idea of how much money they have to work with and demonstrate to sellers that they’re serious about purchasing a home. There are many factors that affect how much a buyer can be prequalified for, so it’s critical they understand what these factors are and their significance.

The “First-Time Homebuyer Mortgage Checklist” identifies four key areas that are considered by creditors when evaluating a person’s financial situation: Income, Assets, Credit and Employment. To help prospective buyers get a better handle on their finances before applying for a loan, each of these key areas contain their very own checklist to ensure every base has been covered.

Here’s a sneak peek into the type of information home buyers will find in this valuable resource:

Income: Highlights what forms of income must be present to qualify for a loan

- Qualifying income, rental income, social security, etc.

Assets: Identifies what resources can be used for a down payment

- Savings/Checking accounts, stocks and bonds, employer assistance programs, etc.

Credit: Provides different types of loans and their required credit scores

- FHA Loans: can be approved with a credit score of 580

Employment: Shows what employment history is required for approval

- Employment history of at least 2 years

As you can see, this checklist provides details into areas that many first-time buyers may overlook when seeking a loan for their first home. Providing this helpful checklist to prospective buyers will demonstrate that you know the ins and outs of the home buying process, proving once again why you are the local expert!

What’s even more important is that this checklist is editable to include your own branding information, so when the day comes that your client has been pre-approved to buy their first home, they’ll remember you helped make it possible. Simply download the “First-Time Homebuyer Mortgage Checklist,” add your branding information and print or save it to email to your networks!

Looking for more valuable resources like this? From financial advice to preparing a home for the changing seasons, Homes.com offers a library of consumer resources that can help guide local buyers and sellers through every step of the home buying process or improve life in their current home.

 

Are FHA Loans Still A Good Option for Your First-Time Homebuyers?

Loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) have previously been used by fifty-five percent of first-time homebuyers. With that said, the FHA has made changes in their mortgage insurance premiums (MIPs) that are forcing many of these first-time buyers to rely on more conventional sources of financing.

What changes have occurred?

The two biggest changes being made by the FHA involve their policies pertaining to MIP payment, which has seen gradual increases over the last 2 years. The previous base rate for annual MIP was 55 basis points or 0.55% of the loan amount. Unfortunately for upcoming homebuyers, these changes have caused the rates to skyrocket and are now high as 135 basis points or 1.35% of the total loan amount. This steep increase will likely make applying for an FHA backed loan less desirable for first-time homebuyers, who are already searching for ways to save money after making one of the biggest financial investments of their lives. Continue reading

Keeping Up with Consumer Trends: Helpfull

Helpfull Consumer TrendConvenience may be the single most important quality that customers look for in a business in 2014. Today’s on-the-go consumer demands that they be able to find information exactly when they need it, and if a business is unable meet this demand, they’ll likely lose their competitive edge. With that being said, real estate professionals must ensure that they provide a one stop shop for clients and prospects that helps them through every step of the home buying process.

Over the past several weeks, Homes.com has discussed consumer trends that may affect the way you market your business to clients and prospects. This time around, we will be looking into another one of these consumer trends known as “Helpfull.” According to a study performed by Trendwatching.com, people have become accustomed to services online that preempt and fulfill their needs before they ask for it. What’s more is that they are starting to carry this need for real time information into the physical world. This means that you should continually improve what your business has to offer, so that when a client or prospect starts searching for information, you will have already provided the resources to help. Not only will this help you grow your reputation as the local expert, but it will also help create and strengthen your relationships.

Patience is a virtue that “Helpfull” consumers lack, so you must provide a service that keeps up with their fast-paced demands. Your website should provide tools and resources that cover even the most minuscule details of the home buying process. On the off chance that your website doesn’t have what they’re looking for, you can expect a phone call shortly after and you must make yourself available when this happens. Be sure to provide prompt responses to “Helpfull” consumers, because the likelihood of them waiting around to hear back from you is slim-to-none; instead they will find someone else that can meet their expectations.

Humanizing your brand is another important thing to consider when working with “Helpfulls,” as they are sick and tired of dealing with voicemails and automated systems! Think about it: how frustrating is it when you are trying to find information and you can’t talk to a real person? “Press one for this.” Or “press two for that.” While these operational strategies can be cost-efficient, it can completely change a person’s opinion of a business. Not only does it waste their time, but quite frankly, it’s downright annoying. Buying or selling a home is one of the biggest financial decisions a person will make in their lifetime, so make sure that YOU are there to help them along every step of the way. This one-on-one interaction is crucial for building relationships and connecting with local buyers and sellers, as it demonstrates your dedication and that you value their business.

“Helpfulls” are all about the here and now, so you must position yourself as a resource they can rely on to strealine the home buying process. Try adding widgets to your website that address frequently asked questions, helpful resources like the Mortgage Checklist and House Hunting Checklist from Homes.com, or even try something as simple as providing them with a phone number for contacting you past normal working hours. In short, make the home buying process as easy and stress-free as possible while adding a little personal touch, because it will go a long way when working with “Helpfulls”!