Buying a home

/Buying a home
10 04, 2018

Programs for Ohio First-Time Homebuyers

April 10th, 2018|Buying a home, Tips & Advice|

The state of Ohio works with mortgage companies, lenders and credit unions to offer home loans to people with low and moderate incomes, including first-time home buyers.

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) helps low- and moderate-income borrowers get 30-year, fixed-rate conventional, Federal Housing Administration, Veterans Affairs and U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development mortgages with relaxed income and purchase price limits. OHFA also has a number of programs that assist first-time buyers and others buying a home. Benefits include lower mortgage rates, down payment assistance, tax credits and combined financing for buying and renovating a home. Besides basic eligibility rules, each program may have additional requirements.

About OHFA and eligibility requirements

  • A free homebuyer education course is required after borrowers submit a mortgage application
  • Down payment assistance is available for first-time home buyers and is forgiven after seven years unless the home is sold or refinanced during that time
  • There are limits on purchase price and borrowers’ incomes, which vary by county and the number of people in a family
  • A minimum credit score is 640 for conventional mortgages and USDA, VA, and FHA 203(k) home loans
  • A minimum credit score is 660 for other FHA loans
  • Each type of loan has its own debt-to-income requirements
  • Veterans who’ve been honorably discharged are eligible for VA loans. They do not have to be first-time home buyers.
  • Eligible property types for these programs include existing single-family homes, duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes and condominiums; one-unit existing modular homes; and newly built single-family homes.

4 04, 2018

Home Buying Help: Should I Lock in a Rate on My Mortgage?

April 4th, 2018|Buying a home, Mortgage 101, Tips & Advice|

Mortgage rates change daily, making it difficult to spot the perfect moment to lock in a mortgage rate. To simplify the decision, keep these things in mind:

  1. Timing is everything.
  2. Have a few options to compare.

What is a Mortgage Rate Lock?

It’s an agreement the lender will deliver a specific combination of interest rate and points if the mortgage closes by a certain date. A point is a fee or rebate equal to 1 percent of the loan amount. Often times, rate locks last for 30, 45 or 60 days, but they can be shorter or longer. A rate lock protects the borrower from rate fluctuations during the lock period.

To begin, find out when your loan is expected to close and work backward to determine when to lock the rate. If you think you need 45 days to close your loan, find out what the interest rate would be if you locked it for a 60-day period.

Find the Best Combination For You

Look for the sweet spot when pricing out a rate lock. The sweet spot is the combination of interest rate, term, and cost you need to acquire the best deal. Most lenders won’t lock-in your rate for less than 30 days. An exception would be if you’re ready to close and offer the same rate for a 15- and 45-day period. There are different lock periods between 15 and 60 days. Anything longer than 60 days gets pricey, so it might be smarter to wait until you get closer to the closing date and check rates again.

When is the best time to lock in your rate?

For most homebuyers, it makes sense to sign a purchase […]

24 10, 2017

5 Reasons to Buy a Home this Fall

October 24th, 2017|Blog, Buying a home|

Real estate markets flow up and down as the seasons change. The spring and summer markets experience high volume, then as the weather cools down, the market seems to slow down as well. Fall signals the beginning of a slow market, which could be good for buyers. If you are in the market for a new home, now could be a good time, let’s check out why:

Leftover Inventory

If a home is still on the market from spring, the sellers probably listed the house too high out of the gate. This could mean a series of reductions in price during the spring and summer months. By October, buyers are likely to find desperate sellers and prices that may, in fact, be below a home’s true market value.

Fewer Buyers

Most families do not have the flexibility to move once their children start another school year, therefore they will not resume shopping for a home until the following spring. These people have exited the market, which leaves less competition for those who are still looking. This means more opportunities. Taking out an entire segment of the housing market provides millennials, single and baby boomer buyers some breathing room.

End of the Year Approaching

The end of the year is rapidly approaching, for those motivated sellers they will see a new year as a hard deadline for wanting to have sold their home. Sellers may want to take advantage of a gain or loss during this tax year. Ask why the seller is selling and look for listings that offer incentives to close before the end of the year.

Home Sales Near the Holidays

If someone is selling their home during the holiday season, that usually means they are an extremely motivated seller. The holidays are a time […]

25 09, 2017

Single Women Home Buyers

September 25th, 2017|Blog, Buying a home|

Building equity is important for everyone, no matter if you are male or female. Single women home buyers face challenges, but no challenge is big enough to stop them from achieving their home buying dreams and increasing the value of their homeownership in a timely manner. First Ohio Home Finance wants to help you start achieving those goals as soon as possible, here are a few tips to get started.

Getting Started  

Can you afford to buy a home? Is your credit score strong enough? Do you have enough for a down payment and closing costs? These are questions to ask yourself before you start shopping. Affording a home means more than making a mortgage payment. It also includes paying taxes, insurance, repairs and maintenance, utilities and possibility HOA dues and other fees. It is important to research these hidden fees and find out if you can afford them. Our mortgage calculator can help you answer some of those questions!

If saving for the down payment is an issue, our Loan Officers are here to find the right loan for you. They will also help you get pre-approved. This will give you a competitive edge when you go to buy a home and sellers will respect your offer more with a mortgage pre-approval.

Long-Term Investment

You want to love the home you purchase. There may be things you love about the house and things you aren’t in love with but willing to work with. When looking at home, focus on the potential profit. As much as we want these homes to be forever homes, it usually does not happen that way. New jobs, kids, pets and many more circumstances could affect the amount of time you spend in a home. When it comes time to […]

27 03, 2017

Tips for buying a home this Spring

March 27th, 2017|Blog, Buying a home|

It is not a secret that spring is a great time to put your home on the market. Prospective homebuyers can look at homes and condos without having to worry about trudging through snow or bad weather. Plus families search for homes during this time so they can move in the summer without disrupting the school year.

A seller’s market means that buyers have to be smart and prepared if they want to get the right house at the right price. Agents suggest that prospective buyers start by looking at home online, narrowing down neighborhood choices and deciding between must-have and preferred features.

Here are tips for buying a home this spring:

• Get mortgage prequalification or preapproval before you start looking. As with any purchase, you need to know what you can afford. If you do this before you start shopping it will help narrow down your options and makes your offer more competitive.
• Do your research. Use the internet and different apps to research neighborhood and asking prices for the type of home you want.
• Have the documents ready. In order to obtain a mortgage you will need documentation to complete the qualification process. Check out the full list of what is needed on our website: http://firstohiohome.com/purchase-home/mortgage-checklists/
• Be ready to move fast. A well-located house in good condition and priced right will sell quickly; it can even be the first day it goes on the market. A buyer needs to be ready to commit if they find a home they like because they risk the chance of losing it if they don’t. One of the things First Ohio Home Finance is known for is how quickly they work for their customers.
• Understand that no house is perfect. Making your offer contingent on a […]

7 03, 2017

Use your tax Refund to Purchase/Finance a Home

March 7th, 2017|Blog, Buying a home, General, Home Finances|

Use your tax Refund to Purchase/Finance a Home

It is tax season which also means refund season! Tax refunds help people either become homeowners or make an extra mortgage payment or two. For first time homeowners, one of the biggest obstacles is coming up with the down payment. So, there is no better time to qualify for a new home than now if you save your tax refund! Sometime a tax refund may actually cover the whole down payment on a home purchase. If your tax refund does not cover your down payment, you will be in better shape financially than you were before you got the refund. If you put it straight into savings, you will have that down payment before you know it! Tax returns may be used as assets so down payment right away.

If you are applying for a loan that does not require a down payment (click here to learn about those loan types) it is still smart to save your tax refund. You could use the tax refund for any of the following:

  • Pay closing costs
  • Pay off debts to help you qualify
  • Keep the refund in the bank as reserves. The more reserves equal better chance of approval
  • Pay down credit card balances to raise credit scores
  • Have money for furniture and emergency funds as a homeowner

It is perfectly fine to apply for a mortgage loan when you have not yet received your refund yet. When you are filling out the application, we can just assume the amount that you will be receiving. As long as we can prove that the funds are in your account prior to the final underwriting approval.

Do you already have a mortgage loan on your home?

That is […]

14 02, 2017

Being a Homeowner During tax Season

February 14th, 2017|Blog, Buying a home, Mortgage 101|

Tax season is upon us! Whether you already own a home or are looking to buy in the near future this is important information. For being a homeowner, there are many deductions you could receive when filing your taxes. Let’s check out a few:

  1. Mortgage Interest. When buying a home the interest payments can be pretty expensive but there is a silver lining to the situation. Interest that you pay on your mortgage is tax deductible, within limits. If you are married and filing jointly, you can deduct all your interest payments on a maximum of $1 million in mortgage debt secured by a first or second home.
  2. Points. There will be various fees when you first buy your home, one of which is called, “points.” One point is equal to 1% of the loan principal. One to three points are common on home loans, which can easily add up to thousands of dollars. You can fully deduct points associated with a home purchase mortgage. Refinanced mortgage points are also deductible, but only over the life of the loan, not all at once. Homeowners who refinance can immediately write off the balance of the old points and begin to amortize the new.
  3. Equity Loan Interest. You may be able to deduct some of the interest you pay on a home equity loan or a line of credit. However, the IRS places a limit on the amount of debt you can treat as “home equity” for this deduction. Your total is limited to the smaller of:
  • $100,000 (or $50,00 for each member of a married couple if they file separately), or
  • The total of your home’s fair market value – this is, what you’d get for your house on the open market – minus […]
15 12, 2016

Buying in 2017: Be Prepared

December 15th, 2016|Blog, Buying a home, Home Finances, Tips & Advice|

Are you planning to buy a home in 2017? If so, you have probably already taken a couple steps to prepare. If you haven’t, that is okay too! We are going to discuss a few things that you can be doing now to get ready to buy a home. There is plenty to do to keep busy!

  1. Check your credit score. A credit score is a number that represents your credit report. FICO scores range from 300 to 850 and the higher the score the better. The better the credit score, the better the chances are that you will get a lower mortgage rate. If you credit score is not where you would like it to be, then start repairing it. Pay bills on time, limit unnecessary purchases, do anything you can financially to make sure you pay your credit card bill on time or even over pay it.
  2. Don’t open new credit cards. The holidays are tempting time for credit card holders. Almost every time you step up to check out at a store, someone is offering you a credit card. The savings sound great, but opening more accounts create more lines of credit. That credit line and what is borrowed, can change the application numbers and jeopardize your application. Also, don’t over spend during the holiday season and rack up more credit card debt.
  3. Suggest financial gifts. You are going to need to prepare for the down payment and also the closing costs and moving costs that are associated with buying a home. You should also consider setting aside money for unexpected repairs and costs. So instead of getting gifts this holiday season, ask your family to give you cash towards your potential new home. It will help in the long […]
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 […]

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