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So far First Ohio has created 141 blog entries.
9 11, 2016

Think Twice Before Renewing your Lease

November 9th, 2016|Blog, Buying a home|

Low section view of a man standing by text Rent and Own with arrow sign represents the concept of home ownership.

Out of the conventional living options, renting often comes with the least amount of pressure. That is not meant to imply that renting is always stress free or that renters do not want security or longevity. They just retain the right to move. With renting you may have a lot of freedom but you aren’t necessarily building equity. Finding the right place to rent takes effort. Most places require renters to sign a 12-month lease. So even though it doesn’t lock you into that place for life, it does require that you pay rent for 12 months. Here are a couple reasons why you might not want to renew your lease this time around.

Rent is going up

You would think tenants would be rewarded for their money invested or for not jumping around from place to place but unfortunately landlords usually do the opposite. Landlords tend to raise rent when it comes time to sign a new lease. Check out the top ten cities where rent is rising the fastest here. Landlords usually send a letter or email to tenants about the raise in rent and sometimes it is only weeks before you have to resign or move out. Don’t let this happen to you, think twice before renewing your rent.

Landlord Issues

Many people start their own business because they want to ‘be their own boss’, well the same thing works for buying a home. Buying a home is being your own landlord, you get to choose the paint colors that you want, if you want to hang stuff on your walls or not and what appliances you will have in your home. It […]

20 10, 2016

Home Inspection Checklist

October 20th, 2016|Blog, Buying a home|

Person Hand With Magnifying Glass Over Luxury House

Inspection day is a very exciting day for home buyers. It is likely the first chance you will have to go inside the home since you made the offer. It is usually the last chance that you will have until a final walkthrough. But most importantly, it is your chance to make sure you know what you are getting yourself into when it comes to the condition of the home. You can experience many different emotions all at one time.

Home inspections not only provide you with a list of problems, but you also want to negotiate with the seller to fix some of the problems or you could even back out of the dealer altogether. It will provide you a detailed report that is something of a “new owner’s manual” for the home. This will also include tips and a schedule of when everything needs done next.

Finding an Inspector

It is important to find a professional for the job. You can find an agent through Zillow’s Agent Finder Tool, this gives you a chance to check out their online reviews and make sure they are someone you can trust to get the job done right. It is vital to be clear on what exactly is and isn’t included in the inspection price. Most inspectors are in a similar range of $300-500 and may fluctuate in price to pay for the inspection that you get. Early in the home buying process start researching inspectors and have at least a couple in mind, especially if the market is busy. You’ll need to be sure you can get an inspection scheduled within your contract timeline as well!

Inspection Day

You should plan on being there and your agent should be […]

22 09, 2016

Why you should buy a home this Fall

September 22nd, 2016|Blog, Buying a home, Home Finances|

Driveway to front walkway view of partial front of residential home during early autumn season.

Everyone loves fall. The leaves are changing, the temperatures start dropping, football season, pumpkin flavored everything, are some of the reasons why fall is so lovable. One of the other awesome things about fall is the housing market slows down, which is good news for buyers. There are a couple reasons why fall is a good time for home buyers, let’s take a look at some.

  • Less competition. As summer comes to an end and the school year starts up, there are fewer families who want to move because they do not want to have their children change schools or school districts during the middle of the year. This is one of the reasons why competition for buying homes drops off in the fall. Fall is considered to be off-season realty. Don’t be discouraged by that though, in some cases there is just as much inventory in the fall as there is in spring and summer. This puts you in a great position to negotiate especially because some sellers will definitely want the move and sale to happen before the holidays.
  • Sellers are worn out. Sellers that still have their homes on the market during the fall might have priced their homes higher than what buyers have wanted to pay in the spring and summer months. After months of no actions, these sellers are often ready to make a deal. Sellers are going to be worn out after months of work. They are likely to take a smaller offer rather than wait another six months for spring to be back around.
  • Sellers means business. Just because a home is on the market in the fall doesn’t necessarily mean that […]
2 09, 2016

Tips for Pet Owners when purchasing a home

September 2nd, 2016|Blog, Buying a home, Tips & Advice|

Buying a home as a pet ownerIf you have any pets you would probably agree, they are part of the family. You couldn’t imagine your life without them, so your new home is no exception. It is important to think about a few things when you are buying a home as a pet owner because let’s face it they might be spending more time in the home than you will be.

Ensuring local ordinances, regulations and neighborhood environment in regards to pets will affect how your pet acclimates to your new home and how much room they have for activities.

Let’s take a look at a few tips:

1) Check Local Requirements

For any potential home purchase, whether you have pets or not, you have probably familiarized yourself with the city. As a pet owner, it will be helpful to familiarize yourself with city and county ordinances. These include leash laws, and other common sense rules such as cleaning up after your pet in public places. Noncompliance can result in a fine. Many communities are striving to create and maintain environmentally friendly and pet-friendly parks. Information on pet parks and playgrounds exist in the area of a potential home should be available from local parks and recreation departments.

2) Ask for apartment or HOA rules

If you are buying a single-family home, this will most likely give your pet the most freedom. For you, a condo or town house might be more in your budget. For these options, check the rules and regulations in regards to pets. Homeowners associations (HOAs) typically govern these with rules for what is allowed and what is not. It will all vary on the location that you choose.

3) Assess the home layout

You love your pet; you want them to be comfortable inside and outside of […]

18 08, 2016

4 Things to pay Attention to while Shopping for a Mortgage

August 18th, 2016|Blog|

imgres

The children are heading back to school which means summer is winding down. The busy home buying season is coming to an end, which is great for buyers. When the busy season winds down it means less competition and can allow you to take your time looking for a mortgage and a home. Let’s discuss four things you need to pay attention to if you are shopping for a mortgage.

  1. Rates. It is crucial to pay attention to rate trends in your state. Even though you shouldn’t shop on rate alone, a low rate can save you a significant amount of money a month which can lead to thousands of dollars over the lifetime of a loan. Rates are also very low right now due to different factors in the economy. Now is a great time to think about locking one in. Call our office today to ask our lenders about rates.
  2. Points. Do you want to pay points? Borrowers sometimes pay “discount points” to reduce the loan’s interest rate. This may make sense for those that are planning to stay in the same home and not refinance for a long period of time. You can also talk through your options about points with one of our knowledgeable lenders.
  3. Fees. Typical fees include: an origination fee, appraisal fee, credit report fee, tax-related fee, underwriting fee, FHA upfront premiums, etc.
  4. Reviews. We love hearing from our customers and their experience with First Ohio Home Finance. We believe that our reviews and testimonials are the truest reflection of our service for our customers. To see what our customers are saying, you can check out our testimonials or our reviews on Zillow.

Shopping for a mortgage can be an overwhelming process; we […]

5 08, 2016

Things Every Home Buyer Should Pay Attention to This Time of Year

August 5th, 2016|Blog, Buying a home|

Sold House

There are many things for the buyer to take into consideration when purchasing a home especially during the summer months when the market seems to be favoring sellers over buyers. Every buyer will have things that are especially important to them but might not be a top priority for others. Let’s take a look at what every buyer can agree on that they need to pay attention to.

The Interest Rates

Interest rates extremely low right now, check out the latest information. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate is at 3.43%, the lowest it has been in months which is great news for buyers. The Federal Reserve has not yet determined when they are forecasting interest rates to rise (hint: they think it might be soon) but they have not officially raised them yet. So it is crucial for buyers to understand that rates are not going to be this low forever and it might be time, sooner rather than later to think about taking advantage of them.

The Home Loan

Here at First Ohio Home Finance, our Loan Officers are dedicated to finding the right loan for everyone’s needs. Whether you can put down the recommended 20% down payment or not, they will find a loan for every person’s current financial situation. Head over to our Types of Loan page to explore the different options.

Timeline

As the buyer, your timeline is just important to us as it is to you. If you need to be settled into a new home by a certain point that is something we want to know right from the beginning. Also if you are planning a trip away during the buying process, that is something to communicate as well so we know if you won’t be reached […]

22 07, 2016

Everything you need to know about Escrow

July 22nd, 2016|Blog, Buying a home, General, Home Finances|

A house with an in escrow sign.

What is Escrow? Recently first time home buyers have joked about either not knowing what Escrow is or being thrilled with themselves for finally learning about it. It is your lucky day, if you are unfamiliar with escrow; you are going to learn now. If you don’t remember anything from this article, remember the concept of the impartial third party – someone with nothing to lose or gain from your real estate transaction.

Now let’s dive further into it. Escrow is not a term we hear every day. The term gets confusing because it has several different meanings in the real estate world.

  1. Weeks ago when you made an offer on your new home, you wrote a check that has to be placed in “escrow” which meant it was to be given to an impartial third party while you and the seller negotiated a purchase contract. A real estate agent probably took care of creating the escrow.
  2. Now your lender is talking about creating an “escrow” account, also called a “reserve” or “impound” account, where money for property taxes and homeowner’s insurance will be held.
  3. To throw more words into the mix, there is such thing as the “closing of Escrow”, which is described by someone called an escrow officer.

All three listed above are accurate uses of the word. An escrow is something of value such as your earnest money check, or documents such as your purchase and sales agreement, that are given to an impartial third party to hold until specific conditions are met. When everything is finished – everybody paid and the deed recorded with the county, the escrow will close.

They will also juggle all incoming paperwork and money from buyers, sellers, agents, lenders and anyone […]

5 07, 2016

Home Inspection vs. Home Appraisal

July 5th, 2016|Blog, General, Mortgage 101|

House and key shaped paper cutout, calculator and magnifier on wooden table.

Some future home buyers may be confused about the difference between a home inspection and a home appraisal. While they sound like they are the same thing, they are very different in reality. The two serve different purposes. A home inspection is optional; while an appraisal is required by a mortgage lender. An appraiser is more concerned with the value or a property, and a home inspector is more concerned with the condition of the property. Here is a closer look at the differences between the two.

Home Inspection

It is the inspector’s job to take a more in-depth look at the home than the appraisers do. Home inspectors are optional. Everything from the foundation to the roof will be thoroughly evaluated to make sure the buyer knows exactly what they are getting. Unlike an appraiser, home inspectors do not place a value on the home. Inspectors create a report that lets the buyer know the overall condition of the home. They inspect things that you do not necessarily see in a walk-through of the property. They will check the plumbing (pipes), radon, possible lead paint exposure, any signs of structural issues, ventilation, heating, air conditioning, electrical, drainage, etc. Inspectors will also advise you to contact a professional, such as a structural engineer, plumber or electrician if they feel there are any major issues to be addressed. The inspector will provide you with a clear understanding of what is going on with the home and if they foresee any future problems.

Home Appraisal

An appraisal is an evaluation of a property’s value based on its condition, features, and similar home sales in the area. Appraisals are conducted by trained, certified professionals who are licensed to […]

28 06, 2016

Jumbo Loans 101

June 28th, 2016|Blog, Buying a home, Home Finances, Mortgage 101|

Rhinebeck, NY, USA - November 5, 2007: Elegant private residence located in Rhinebeck; This area is in the Hudson Valley area of Upstate New York.

Since this is a 101 about jumbo loans and when you should use one, let’s start with the basics. A jumbo loan can also be referred to as a non-conforming mortgage. This is a loan that does not conform to the guidelines of Frannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Created by Congress in 1938 and 1970 respectively, Frannie Mae and Freddie Mac provide stability and affordability to the mortgage market by buying “conforming” mortgages from lenders, giving lenders liquidity to make more mortgages.

Frannie Mae and Freddie Mac only buy mortgages meeting their guidelines for down payment, credit score, post-closing reserves and loan amount. As of 2016, the conforming loan size limit for a one-unity home is $417,000 with exceptions as high as $625,500 in certain high-priced markets.

When should you use a jumbo mortgage?

You would use a jumbo mortgage when you are seeking a loan amount that is greater than the conforming loan limit in your area. In most of the country, that means you will take out a jumbo loan if the amount of the loan is greater than $417,000. In certain areas that are deemed high cost, the conforming loan limit goes above $417,000. You can look up your area’s loan limited here: http://www.fhfa.gov/DataTools/Downloads/Pages/Conforming-Loan-Limits.aspx.

Qualifying for a Jumbo Mortgage

Jumbo mortgages have the same overall qualifying methodology as a conforming loan. Lenders will look at your credit score, down payment size,  total monthly debt obligations relative to income (called your debt-to-income ratio), and money left over after closing.

  • Credit score requirements are about the same for conforming and jumbo.
  • Money left after closing – This is often called reserves or […]
17 06, 2016

Smart Moves for First-Time Home Buyers

June 17th, 2016|Home Finances, Mortgage 101, Tips & Advice|

Shot of a couple moving into their new homehttp://195.154.178.81/DATA/i_collage/pu/shoots/805830.jpg

First-time home buyers, are you ready to buy? It is a seller’s market right now so we are here to prepare you with tips before entering the market. Your biggest challenge is that you are probably bringing less cash to the table, which makes it harder to compete with more season buyers. What YOU do have is flexibility-you’re not counting on selling your current place to fund the deal. Which means that you are a perfect answer for sellers who want to stay put until they land their next place.

  1. Lock up your financials. It is time to clean up your credit and save for a bigger down payment so that you’ll qualify for a better mortgage rate and avoid costly fees. Start paying down credit cards so your balance is less than 30% of the limit and avoid late payments. It is so important to pay your bills on time, even student loan payments. Student loans will not hinder your chance of getting a loan, as long as you are making the payments on time. Next, 20% is the golden number for down payments. Putting down 20% helps you avoid costly private mortgage insurance and can help you to beat competing offers. If you aren’t there yet, either change your spending habits to save up more or start looking at cheaper homes.
  2. Check Alternative Mortgage Options. If you can’t get close to that 20% down payment or your credit score is not where you would like it to be, that is okay too! FHA loans (read more about them here) let you put just 3.5% down, and offer better rates for those with less-than-pristine credit. It is important to know the tradeoff though, […]
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