Millennium Realty



Posted by Millennium Realty on 11/15/2018

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you might be wondering what all of the expenses you can expect to have when it comes time to close on your home.

Ideally, you’ll want to understand all of the closing costs months in advance so that you can plan accordingly. However, even if you’re close to purchasing your first home, it’s still useful to get to know closing costs better.

In today’s post, I’m going to cover the closing costs that are typically the buyer’s responsibility.

Buyer’s closing costs

There’s good news and bad news when it comes to closing costs for buyers. The bad news is that buyers are typically on the hook for the majority of the closing costs associated with a real estate transaction. The good news, however, is that many of these fees will be grouped together as part of your mortgage, meaning you won’t have to devote much time or thought to them individually.

That being said, to ensure that you know where your money is going, here’s a breakdown of the main closing costs that you’ll likely be responsible for as a buyer:

1. Attorney fees

Real estate attorneys research the ownership of the home, ensuring that the seller actually has the right to sell you the property. Though this is usually a formality, it is an important one.

Attorneys can either charge a flat fee or hourly rate.

2. Origination fees

The origination fee is paid upfront to the lender. It’s the fee that they charge for processing your mortgage application and getting you approved as a borrower.

3. Prepaid interest

Many buyers pay their first month’s interest in advance. This is the amount of interest that will accrue from the time you purchase the home until your first mortgage payment is due (a month later).

4. Home inspection

Inspections are one of the closing costs that can save you a ton of money in the long run if they find anything during their visit to the home. Inspectors should be licensed in your state, and you should choose your own inspector based on ratings and reviews (not at the recommendation of someone who is incentivized to sell you the home such).

5. Escrow deposits

Escrow deposits are typically shared between the buyer and seller and it is the fee that escrow agents charge for their services. You can think of an escrow as a neutral third party that keeps your money safe while purchasing a home.

6. Recording fees

All real estate purchases have to be recorded by the local government. Typically, this is performed by the county or town hall. Recording fees are charged whenever a real estate transaction occurs.

7. Underwriting fees

Mortgages are all about determining risk. A lender wants to know whether they will see a return on their investment by lending to you. To do so, they research your credit and income history. The fee the charge for this work is called the underwriting fee.




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Posted by Millennium Realty on 11/8/2018

Although statistics may not be reflective of your individual real-estate buying habits, the "typical" homeowner tends to stay put in their home for around a decade -- give or take.

One of the few "drawbacks" of being a long-term homeowner is that, over time, you tend to forgot many of the details of the home-buying process.

However, an advantage of buying a home in the Internet Age is the availability of instant information on everything from interest rates and real estate agent reviews to house hunting tips and choosing a moving company.

Your Real Estate Journey

Buying a home can be an extremely satisfying experience... or it can be filled with frustration and disappointment. However, by having a basic understanding of how the house-buying process works, you'll be more effective at preparing yourself for what's to come, anticipating what you need to do, and creating a clear picture in your mind of your requirements and ideal living environment. As various thought leaders have said over the years: If you're not clear on what you want, you'll probably end up with something else!

The cornerstones of a successful real estate search are knowing your credit score, having enough money on hand for a sufficient down payment and closing costs, enlisting the help of an experienced real estate agent, and being proactive about meeting with mortgage bankers and shopping for a competitive interest rate (and terms).

Staying organized, creating priority lists, and continually educating yourself about the nuts and bolts of buying a home will help ensure that your real estate experience will be a positive one. Even though there may be a few bumps and detours along the way, taking the time to be organized and well informed will help you stay on track and produce the type of results you and your family are looking for.

Although it does pay to read articles from credible online sources, you don't have to achieve "expert status" as a house hunter and real estate buyer. If you choose your real estate agent with care, they should be able to provide you with the expertise, advice, and professional guidance you need to clear the hurdles and make it all the way to the finish line!

How does one choose a great real estate agent? The ideal way is to get a referral from a trusted family member, friend, coworker, or neighbor. If someone you trust can attest to the service level and results a particular real estate agent has produced, then chances are good that your experience would be comparable. If more than one person you know recommends a top-notch agent, then that creates a "multiplier effect." In other words, it increases the likelihood that you'll be satisfied with the service and results this agent provides. If you don't know anyone personally who has worked with a great agent, there are well-known websites that post reviews, years of experience, and relevant sales information on licensed real estate agents.





Posted by Millennium Realty on 11/1/2018

If you’re hoping to buy your first home in the near future, you’re likely wondering about the different types of mortgages that you may qualify for. Since the 1930s, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has been insuring home loans for first-time homeowners across America.

This program helps people achieve homeownership who typically wouldn’t be able to afford the down payment or pass the credit score requirements to secure a traditional mortgage.

In today’s post, we’re going to answer some frequently asked questions about FHA loans to help you decide if this is the best option for your first home.

Does the FHA issue loans?

Although they’re called “FHA loans,” mortgages are not actually issued by the FHA. Rather, they’re issued by mortgage lenders across the country and insured by the FHA.

Will I have to make a down payment?

With an FHA loan, your down payment can be as low as 3.5%, significantly lower than traditional loans at 20% down payment. However, you will be required to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) in addition to your monthly mortgage payments until you have paid off 20% of the home. So, the best case scenario would be to save as much as possible for a down payment to reduce the amount of mortgage insurance you have to pay.

What are the benefits of an FHA loan?

The three main reasons to secure an FHA loan are:

  • You can qualify with a low credit score

  • You can make a smaller down payment than traditional mortgages

  • Your closer costs will be less expensive

Where do I apply for an FHA loan?

You can apply for an FHA loan through a mortgage lender. You can also work with a mortgage broker to help choose a lender.

Is an FHA loan the only loan option for low down payments?

There are multiple loan programs offered at the state and federal level to help individuals secure a mortgage with a lower down payment. They can be provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the USDA, or state-sponsored programs. Lenders also often sponsor their own programs to attract potential borrowers. However, always make sure you compare these programs to make sure you’re making the best long-term financial decision.

Do all FHA loans offer the same interest rates and costs?

No. Since the loans are only insured by the FHA, it’s up to the lender to determine your interest rate and fees. So, it’s a good idea to shop around for the best lender.

How high does my credit score have to be to qualify for an FHA loan?

You can secure a mortgage with a down payment as low as 3.5% with a credit score of 580 or higher. However, if you can afford to make a larger down payment, you can secure an FHA loan with a credit score as low as 500.

If your score is in the 500-600 range, it’s typically a better idea to spend a few months building credit before applying for a home loan.

What information will I need to apply?

You’ll need to gather all of the same information that you would for a typical mortgage. This includes W2s from your employer(s), two years of submitted tax forms, your current and former addresses from the past two years, and your gross monthly salary.

I’ve owned a house before, can I still qualify for FHA loans?

Even if you’re not a first-time homebuyer you can still qualify for an FHA loan. However, you cannot qualify if you’ve had a foreclosure within the last three years or have filed for bankruptcy within the last two years.




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Posted by Millennium Realty on 10/25/2018

One of the most difficult decisions to make when refinishing a room is how much of a current trend to inspire your choices. Jumping in with two feet can be fun and certainly create a wow factor. However, trends can also quickly become outdated and if you’ve invested a lot of time and money into a particular one you will also have to spend a lot of time and money to change it.

Luckily, this isn’t an all or nothing situation. So whether your current obsession is mid-century modern or shabby chic you can satisfy your style preference without making a top to bottom change in a few months or years.

To start, keep bigger items like the wall color, flooring, and furniture neutral in both style and color. What I mean by this is to choose furniture that is inspired by or similar, but simpler, to a more trendy piece. And neutral doesn’t have to mean beige. Blacks, grays, blues, browns, whites, and creams with just a hint of the desired hue are perfect multitaskers that transcend both trends and time.

For example, if you want pink for a blush-toned creme or for green a sage infused blue. If you’re craving color black and white create the perfect canvas for colorful accessories to really pop and make a statement. Navy and charcoal are neutral but underutilized colors that allow you to give a little push style boundaries.

Bring in those pops of color with accents. Wall art, decor, throw pillows, curtains and bedding are perfect ways to do just that. Incorporate your favorite new colors and patterns throughout the room for a consistent look and not as if you haphazardly placed pieces as an afterthought.

The best part of using these details to infuse your trend of choice is that they enable you to go as bold or subtle as you like. Curtains or a comforter in a bright color or a bold print capture the eye immediately. Throw pillows and wall art, on the other hand, make for a room filled with personality.

It’s always fun to incorporate trends when we are decorating. It gives the room your unique brand of personality and brings the space to life. Cleverly choosing your larger items to remain understated to allow your trendy pieces take the spotlight is the perfect way to join in while also staying flexible if you tire of it or want to change things up down the road.

You’ll also be making a more budget-friendly project by choosing neutral tones for your investment pieces. They will be able to carry over decades to come while transcending, for the most part, the many trends it is sure to outlive.     




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Posted by Millennium Realty on 10/18/2018

If you're a homeowner or are planning to become one in the near future, hiring contractors to maintain and upgrade your home is a fact of life. Although older homes often need more TLC than newer ones, "newness" (like youth) can be a fleeting quality! Time passes quickly, and before you know it, your house needs a fresh coat of paint, landscaping improvements, or even wet basement solutions.

There may be times when you're tempted to accept the first estimate you're given for a home improvement project, but there are sound reasons for taking your time and choosing home contractors carefully and in a methodical way.

  • Saving money: It's not unusual for one home contractor to quote a price that is literally thousands of dollars more than the competition. While, on one hand, very low prices may be a sign of inferior quality, there is no guarantee that high prices assure superior quality. Fortunately, there are plenty of good contractors who charge competitive prices and make it their business to provide customers with exceptional value. If you get references, read online reviews, and make sure your prospective contractor has all the necessary insurance coverages, licenses, and relevant experience, then you'll be ready to make an informed decision based on quality, service, and pricing. Regardless of the caliber of a contractor's work, if you don't get at least two or three estimates, you'll always be wondering if they overcharged you. When you get multiple quotes, you'll never be plagued by that nagging question!
  • Getting helpful ideas: In addition to finding a qualified tradesman with solid expertise, project management skills, and competitive pricing, it also pays to choose one who offers innovative suggestions and creative ideas. By interviewing three contractors, you'll gain insights into their communication style, their overall attitude, and their willingness to provide helpful advice when needed.
  • Personality factors: After meeting with prospective contractors, you'll know which of the three you feel the most comfortable doing business with. Many home improvement projects can easily last between 3 days and a couple weeks, so you'll tend to be a lot more satisfied with a contractor who's courteous, punctual, above the board, friendly, professional, and customer-service oriented. If they seem annoyed with your questions or evasive in their responses, you can be reasonably sure there will be problems down the road in working with them -- possibly even quality assurance issues. If they tend to complain about other customers or berate their competition, then that is also a potential red flag.
Once you've received three project proposals and are able to compare "apples to apples," you're in a good position to choose the right contractor for your needs -- one who takes pride in their work, looks for solutions not problems, and provides a high level of customer value for a good price.







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