The Benefits of Buying a Foreclosed Home

You may have heard stories of people finding spectacular foreclosed homes for extreme bargains, or perhaps you’ve heard of someone taking a risk on a foreclosure just to get burned with serious repair bills. 

Everyone has their own opinion of foreclosures, but the reality is that they are just like any other real estate deal. Buyers who don’t do their due diligence have a much greater chance of regretting their purchase later on.

So, what is so different about a foreclosed home? Well, it depends on what stage of foreclosure the home is in. The three stages of foreclosure are: Read more

What Are Closing Costs?

Whenever you buy a home, many pieces must come together for the property to be appraised, sold, and transferred to a new owner. While you may only communicate with your realtor and a representative from your lender, many professionals are working behind the scenes to make sure the home buying process goes smoothly. Closing costs cover all the fees these professionals charge for their services.

Since closing costs is a blanket term that covers a variety of different fees and charges, there’s no way to give someone a definite answer as to how much their closing costs will be until they actually close on the property and sign all of the required documents. However, lenders do try to be transparent about estimated closing costs by providing all mortgage applicants with a Loan Estimate (formerly known as a Good Faith Estimate) a few days after submitting an application. This Loan Estimate will list all the expected closing costs associated with the prospective mortgage loan. The Loan Estimate is the best tool available for estimating your closing costs so you can budget appropriately. Read more

What is a Conventional Loan?

A conventional mortgage loan is a mortgage loan that is not backed by a government agency. Conventional mortgage loans can be categorized in many different ways, including conforming v.s. non-conforming, fixed-rate v.s. adjustable-rate, and more.

Conventional mortgage loans are great for potential property buyers who don’t meet the requirements for other mortgage types, such as debt-to-income ratio or credit score. Since conventional loans are backed by private financial institutions instead of government agencies, they don’t always have to follow the strict regulations set in place by government officials. Depending on the buyer’s current financial situation and intended use of the property, a conventional loan may offer a lower interest rate and more favorable terms than a government-backed loan. Read more

In Real Estate, What Does “Exclusive Right to Sell” Mean?

Selling your home can be very overwhelming and confusing. In addition to navigating the various laws and deadlines, there’s also a completely new language to learn. When you first speak to a realtor or start researching selling your home on the internet, you may be overwhelmed with all the jargon. If you decide to go with a realtor, they will probably present you with an “Exclusive Right to Sell” contract during one of your first meetings. Before you sign anything, you need to know exactly what that means.

What is an “Exclusive Right to Sell”?

When you sign an “Exclusive Right to Sell” contract with a realtor, you’re agreeing that only the realtor can market, promote, and sell your home until the contract’s end date. No other agent or broker can list, promote, or market your home, and all buyers must go through the exclusive agent. This also means that they get paid no matter who brings in the buyer for the house.  Read more

Why the End of Forbearance Will Not Lead to a Wave of Foreclosures

Many people who took advantage of federal mortgage payment forbearance during the COVID-19 pandemic are now just past or nearing their plan’s end date. This means millions of homeowners are now resuming their regular monthly mortgage payments, along with trying to make up the 6-12 months of missed payments from the forbearance period.

It’s hard not to wonder if this will be a repeat of the 2008 housing market collapse. People fear that homeowners, still underemployed due to the pandemic, will not be able to resume their monthly mortgage bills. Many skeptics say that this will lead to a wave of foreclosures that could cause the housing market to plummet in value. However, real estate experts say that the market today is nothing like it was back in 2008, and they do NOT anticipate an increase in foreclosures due to the end of forbearance plans. Read more

Why You Should Get a Mortgage Pre-Approval

Mortgage Pre-ApprovalBuying a home can be a complicated process, but there are things you can do to ease some of the stress. Preparation for purchase should begin well before you ever look at a potential property. Important things to consider when purchasing a new home include crime rates, school district reputations, commute times to work or school, availability of public transportation, HOA fees, and, of course, how much you can afford. Obtaining a mortgage pre-approval is the best way to estimate how much you can finance for a new home.

Know Your Purchase Power

Determining your budget can be difficult if you plan to finance a purchase. Without knowing the exact term and interest rate you’ll be paying, you can’t accurately calculate the total purchase price you can afford. A mortgage pre-approval letter will tell you what a lender estimates they can finance based on your background and credit history. You’ll need to provide the lender with some detailed information about yourself to obtain the pre-approval, including your income figures, credit report and score, and employment history. You won’t have to worry about falling in love with a home you cannot afford as long as you stick to the pre-approval letter’s limit. Read more

Selling Your Home in a Seller’s Market

Selling Your HomeToday’s real estate market is on fire — if you are a seller, that is. The current supply of available homes is down by around a third since last year! Homes are also selling in record-setting times, sometimes within just hours of hitting the market. Many people are currently going all out to purchase any home that pops onto the market, and sellers are receiving multiple offers (in some cases, 50 or more!) well over their asking price.

This many offers to consider can leave a seller feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Accepting the highest offer is not always the best choice, but it can be difficult to know which factors are the most important when deciding between multiple offers.

If you want to sell your home in today’s red-hot seller’s market, follow these tips to maximize your profits while minimizing your stress: Read more

How to Market Your Home for Sale

Market Your Home for SaleAlmost three-quarters of Americans say their home is their biggest asset. When it comes time to sell, you want the highest price possible with minimal investment. More and more people choose to market their homes themselves, skipping some of the selling costs that eat into sellers’ profit. Knowing how to market your home effectively is the difference between selling quickly or having your property sit on the market for months. Follow these guidelines to get your home sold so you can move on with the next chapter in your life:

  • Conduct a Comparative Analysis

The absolute first thing you’ll want to do is a comparative analysis of nearby properties like yours that are currently for sale or recently sold. Use online tools like those available at and to see similar homes in your area. Focus on homes closest to your property, as property values, even from one neighborhood to another, can vary widely. When comparing properties, look for similar: Read more

Proven Ways to Increase Home Value

Increase Home ValueIf you’re like most Americans, your home is probably your most valuable investment. When it’s time to sell your home, there’s probably one thing on your mind, and that is getting the highest price possible. You can’t control all of the factors that determine your home’s value, but making repairs and renovations is a popular way to get your home sold quicker and for a higher price. There are many tried-and-true ways to increase your home’s value before listing it on the market, including:

  • Increasing the square footage

Much of a home’s value is based on liveable square footage. Adding a bedroom, family room, or bathroom is an almost guaranteed way to increase the home’s value. The addition needs to be built well and within local ordinances. It should also go with the overall aesthetic of the house. Read more

First-Time Homebuyer Programs in Florida

First-Time HomebuyerThere aren’t many things in life as exciting as closing on your very first home! While you’ll certainly be excited and feel accomplished as a new home buyer, the process can also be intimidating and hard to navigate, not to mention expensive. Luckily, in the state of Florida, there are several ways first-time homebuyers can reduce the monthly payments, down payment, and closing costs on their mortgages, making homeownership easier than ever!

Florida hosts several programs that offer 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages for first-time homebuyers, collectively known as the Homebuyers Loan Programs. With one application to Florida’s state housing authority, Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC), you can be considered for all available loan types within this program. These loans are backed by various federal agencies, including the FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac. There are a few requirements to receive one of these loans: Read more