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41 Realty Group Home Inspection General Real Estate

What Goes Into a Home Inspection and Why Do…

One question we get a lot from buyers is, “do I really need a home inspection?” Especially in a seller’s market, this question becomes more and more common. When desperate buyers compete against multiple offers, they’re tempted to waive the home inspection to put themselves ahead of the competition.

According to the National Association of Realtors, home sales have shot up to the highest level they’ve been at in a while. About 80% of those homebuyers hired a home inspector, and for a good reason! A home inspection is the most substantial contingency that a buyer possesses once under contract. 

The home inspection process allows the buyer to ensure that their home is healthy and will stand the test of time. Here we walk through what steps happen during the inspection and how to fix the problems that arise from the home inspection report. We’ll also discuss how home inspections can save you money in the long run. 

All The Ins and Outs of A Real Estate Home Inspection

Don’t let the idea of a home inspection scare you! They aren’t high-strung people judging your home and getting caught up on the minor details. 

Home inspectors are actually detail-oriented and unbiased people who will give you a professional assessment of your home’s weak points. This helpful, neutral third party can help you identify problem areas that untrained eyes might not notice. As a buyer, you should know what kind of home you’re walking into.

What Is A Home Inspection?

A home inspection is just a visual assessment of a property that helps determine the current state of its structure and mechanics. You might think of it as an annual check-up at the doctor’s office — a way to ensure that things are working correctly and help you identify any weak points that could become an issue down the line.

A certified home inspector has the experience and the training to look for specific issues and report their professional opinion on your home’s status. As the home buyer, you’ll be able to view this report and get a clearer picture of potential costs down the line, which could help you decide whether or not you want that commitment. A home inspection is highly influential, and a home inspection contingency is a staple of most home offer and purchase agreements. It gives the buyer the contractual power to renegotiate prices or back out of a sale (without losing their deposit or earnest money). 

Remember that even the best home inspection doesn’t guarantee that a property won’t ever run into issues! Its purpose is to inform the buyer about the property and help them prepare for the financial commitment before making any final decisions.

What Happens During A Home Inspection?

You and a certified home inspector will walk through the property during a home inspection. The inspector will examine the house throughout and take notes and photos for their report. A qualified home inspector will answer your questions or concerns and provide you with an unbiased and expert perspective on any issues they might see with your home. In addition, they’ll help you determine which problems will or will not impact your home purchase. 

Once the inspector completes their evaluation, they’ll send you their detailed report, including any recommendations for repairs. They will also highlight the lifetime of specific appliances, including the furnace or AC unit. 

Here are some things that home inspectors do look for during an inspection:

  1. They start with examining physical structures, including looking for weak spots in the floor of your garage, roofing and attic spaces, and of course, foundation issues.
  2. Then they’ll look through the interior of a home and try to spot signs of water damage or moisture, and they’ll take note of flooring, walls, doors, and windows.
  3. An inspector will also look at all major home systems, including the functionality like water flow, cold and hot water outputs, and the age and condition of appliances that will be tested during a home inspection and the plumbing.
  4. Utilities are also part of the significant systems check. Your home inspector will assess them and give you a detailed report on electrical lines and the gas service quality. The inspector might also complete a well inspection if your home has it. 

A great home inspector will catch things you might not notice and warn about potential problems that might come up. However, keep in mind that home inspectors don’t look for mold, radon gas, asbestos, lead paint, and termite damage. 

If you are concerned that a home you’re buying or selling might have any of these problems, it’s best to contact a specialist right away! Your real estate agent will have resources on hand. 

Is There Ever A Time You Should Skip A Home Inspection?

Regardless of whether you’re buying or selling, there is never a situation where you skip the home inspection. However, it is a crucial step in the home buying process, and if you skip it, you could end up with some serious and expensive consequences in the future.

Since purchasing a home is one of the most significant investments most buyers will make in their lifetime, giving up valuable information about the overall health of your home seems silly. So instead, make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. Think of a home inspection as an unbiased review of your future home. Even if it looks like it’s in perfect shape from the outside, you never know what serious problems are hiding under the surface.

Even sellers can save precious time and money with a home inspection. Getting an inspection early can help you uncover severe problems to get them fixed before you list your home (which enables you to avoid drawn-out negotiations or lowball offers). In addition, selling a house that has had its issues addressed can expedite the sales process down the road. 

Conclusion

A home inspection will cost you some time and a little bit of money, but we’ve never met a single person who regretted that decision. A home inspection can reveal problems that the current owners might fix before moving in. Plus, they can identify a potential money pit. Especially for new home construction, a home inspection is a crucial part of the home buying process. 

First-time home buyers find that inspections can give you a crash course in home maintenance and even provide a checklist to know how to keep your home safe and sound. Regardless of your situation, you must address these issues early, and a home inspection can save you tens of thousands of dollars down the road.

If you need help with the buying or selling process, including scheduling a home inspection, we’ve got your back! The experts at 41 Realty Group will help you with every phase of the process and make sure you dot all your i’s and cross all your t’s!

For Sale By Owner - 41 Realty Group Sellers

Should You Sell Your House For Sale By Owner?

Are you thinking of selling your home yourself (also known as “for sale by owner” or FSBO) because you think it will save you a lot of money? It’s no secret that the standard real estate agent’s commission is typically 5% to 6%, which really adds up depending on the price of the home you want to buy. With that in mind, you might be thinking that acting as your own seller’s agent will be worth the savings. However, before you go the for sale by owner route, there are a few reasons why you might want to reconsider. 

Things You Should Know Before You Sell Your House For Sale By Owner

Here are the highlights of things you should know before choosing FSBO. First, while it might be tempting, the risks of going it alone outweigh the benefits.

These risks include not finding qualified buyers, not knowing how to negotiate properly, not having enough free time to facilitate the sale, and potentially making emotional rather than logical decisions. The most significant risk of choosing “for sale by owner” is not having the experience or expertise to navigate all the requirements (both legal and regulatory) that come with selling a home.

Now that you know the risks let’s dive into what FSBO entails.

What Is For Sale by Owner, Exactly?

In the real estate world, For Sale By Owner (FSBO, pronounced “fizbo”) is when a house owner sells their home without any representation from a real estate agent. 

Most home sellers decide FSBO isn’t worth it because of the hassle alone — and they find that they end up getting a worse deal on their home than if they had used a realtor. Most people who choose the FSBO route sell their homes at 11% less than those with an agent. 

Real Estate Is a Full-Time Job

Think about these questions: Can you rush home from work when someone wants to see your home? Is it possible for you to answer your phone every time it rings with a potential buyer? Do you have the time or energy to market your home at every available opportunity consistently? 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed just thinking about that, it might be time to hire an agent. A real estate agent is passionate about getting your home sold for the best price, so you can sit back and relax and let them do the hard work for you.

Real Estate Agents Have Large Networks

Sure, there are websites and networks you can list your home on like Zillow, Redfin, Craiglist, and the MLS, but is simply posting a listing enough? Real estate agents have a vast pool of people they can spread the word to so that you can get your home sold faster. Even if you think you have many friends and family, will they go the extra mile for you to make sure more people see your home? 

A small network means less demand for your property, which means longer waiting periods and not getting as much money as your home is worth. An excellent real estate team will likely already have a collection of buyers who are looking for precisely what your house has! 

Realtors May Not Show a “For Sale By Owner” Home

Though not true of all brokerages, some agents know that in an FSBO deal, there isn’t a professional colleague who knows what they are doing on the other end of the transaction. As a result, agents representing buyers might discourage their clients from making an offer because of the hassles and risks of trying to close the deal without a professional agent (and without a guaranteed commission!).

If you really want to be taken seriously by seller’s agents, avoid any hiccups, or miss any critical steps, it’s better to use an agent who can help you manage the process.

Agents Avoid Emotional Sales

The sale of your home can become an emotional process. Having an agent removes you slightly from the process, so you don’t overprice your home or give in too quickly when you’re tired of waiting for the right offer. If you choose not to use an agent, you’ll also have to deal directly with rejection every time a buyer’s agent tells you that the client isn’t interested. 

The right real estate agent can take the sting out of the rejection and positively spin any constructive criticism. Hiring an agent means you have someone on your side, facilitating the deal so that everything goes smoothly.

Real Estate Agents Weed Out Unqualified Buyers

When you use a real estate agent, they will be able to take the time to find out whether someone who wants to see your home for sale is a qualified buyer or simply a curious neighbor. It can be a significant interruption every time you have to put your life on hold, clean your home, and find the time for potential buyers to come over. An agent can limit those hassles and only show your home to those who actually want to buy.

Real estate agents are trained to ask the right questions to determine the buyer’s seriousness and make sure they are qualified. They also know how to determine how long buyers have been looking, whether they’ve seen any other homes, and more. As a result, a real estate agent will be able to move a qualified and motivated person to the point of purchase, while FSBO sellers lack this training and skill set.

Lastly, having the seller present can make showings a little uncomfortable. Most buyers rush through the house if the seller is present, and might feel awkward asking the questions they want to or going through the house the way they want to because of the watchful eyes of the seller.

The Bottom Line With For Sale By Owner

It’s a big deal to learn how to sell your house without the assistance of an agent. Selling your home is likely one of the most significant transactions you’ll ever make. Though it’s true, that you might save a few dollars, we think that hiring an agent has a lot more advantages. The right real estate agent will get you more exposure and negotiate a better deal on your behalf, but real estate is what they do, day in and day out. They can make certain complex transactions go smoothly, with a few potential financial and legal pitfalls as possible. Are you in the market to sell? 41 Realty Group wants to help! Set up a consultation with us and show us why hiring an agent is a great idea (especially in this crazy market!).

Moving Budget 41 Realty Group General Real Estate

Things To Consider When Planning Your Moving Budget

We all know that the cost of moving can be extensive, which is why you might benefit from creating a moving budget. Failing to prepare can result in a hefty bill you weren’t expecting. That’s why we’ve created this guide, to help you wrap your head around what you can expect to spend money on before the moving process even begins.

The first step in setting a moving budget is creating a list of costs you should consider. The below costs might not necessarily apply to your situation, but hopefully, it will help you think about what you should factor in for your own move this year.

How To Create The Ultimate Moving Budget

It takes a little attention to detail and requires you to be proactive, but here’s our advice to help you create a moving budget that will help alleviate some of the stress that comes with the process.

Step 1: Take Inventory Of Your Things

Before you make any plans or put money into anything, start by taking an inventory of your things and decide what is actually going into the new home. Obviously, everyday items like clothes, furniture, kitchenware, and essentials will be on your inventory from the start. Still, it’s a good idea to go room by room to ensure you haven’t forgotten anything. 

This might also be the time that you go through and donate items you’re sick of and make a list of new things you’ll likely want when you move. For example, sometimes a new home requires new furniture. Do the cleanup and donating part first before you make any other decisions.

Step 2: Do Research On Local Moving Components

Once you have a clear idea of what you’re taking with you to the new home will also help you decide what kind of movers you’ll need. Professional movers often require a list of your inventory anyways so that they can give you an estimate or quote.  These estimates have several factors. Here’s what you can expect:

  • A base moving fee — Many moving companies start with a base rate, which is the amount that all people have to pay regardless of how much stuff they have or where it’s being moved.
  • Moving insurance — You will likely be offered something called valuation, which is insurance for your belongings. It provides compensation if the company damages or loses anything. 
  • Specialty item fees — Speciality items like safes, pianos, artwork, and more are often considered specialty items. Therefore, they can charge you an extra fee to move fragile or difficult items.

However, we know that not everyone wants to hire movers. In that case, there are fees you have to consider if you’re moving on your own: 

  • Moving truck rental — The cost of your moving truck will be determined by the size of your truck and how far you’ll be driving. 
  • Equipment — Moving boxes, blankets, packing tape, bubble wrap, and more, there is a lot to consider when packing up your things so that they get to their destination safely and securely.

Lastly, beyond the moving truck and moving items from one place to the next, you should also consider cleaning fees. Many people employ professional cleaning services to clean after they’ve moved. You should also consider when you should move, as you might be losing money if you’re moving in the middle of the week and missing work versus moving on the weekend.

Step 3: Remember The Costs When You Get To The New House

Though you might consider your budget spent once you get to the new house, we want to make sure we point out that once you arrive at your new home, there will be expenses to consider there as well. 

First, you’ll likely have a few utility setup fees to get everything up and running. When moving in, many people want new items, including furniture and household items. Also, you might be upgrading and have an extra bathroom, which could require new things to fill the space. 

Take a little bit of the pressure off when you set aside a little extra in your budget and make a list of items you’ll need right away vs. what can wait until later. 

We hope that our list hasn’t been too overwhelming, but remember not all of these things will apply to you. So instead, use our list as a stepping stone so you can get a better overall sense of what you might have to spend money on. And remember the reward! A new house, a fresh start, and expenses you’ll likely forget about once you get settled in.

Conclusion

Having a moving budget can help you plan your move and give you peace of mind. However, we think you don’t have to put every extra penny into a savings account. Instead, make sure you leave room in your budget for a bit of breathing room. Moving is stressful, and you and the family might need a break or a distraction. Even if that just means getting out of the messy house and going out to eat, make sure you’re not being too stingy with the fun stuff while you’re in the process of moving to a new home. Do you need help with the buying or selling process? The agents at 41 Realty Group have all the tools and resources you need no matter where you are in your real estate journey. So give us a call today and let us answer your questions, give you advice, and assist however we can!

41 Realty Group Homebuyer Mistakes Buyers

10 First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes To Avoid

As a first-time homebuyer (or even if it’s been years since you’ve bought a house!), there are a lot of common home buyer mistakes you’ll want to avoid. Starting with your mortgage pre-approval and ending with you actually moving into your dream house, at the end of the process, you’ll be a home-buying expert. 

However, with all the moving pieces involved, there’s a lot of room for error. We suggest looking for homebuyer classes as a way to start your journey to homeownership and consulting with a qualified team of real estate professionals. If you want a quick guide, read on for our guide of first-time homebuyer mistakes so you can identify potential hurdles and hopefully avoid most of them!

How to Avoid These First Time Home Buyer Mistakes

Every year, first-time homebuyers make their way into the real estate market, and without the right help or knowledge, they make the same mistakes their parents or family members did. Today’s buyers can stop the cycle. Here’s our list of errors to watch out for and what to do instead!

Waiting To Start Saving

One big mistake that new owners make is waiting too long to save. Before you even start looking for homes, saving early can help you contribute more money overall. Plus, you have the potential to earn more with interest from a savings account. When buying a house, you’ll need cash up-front to cover both your down payment and closing costs.

Try to create a separate account dedicated to your home-buying savings so that you know exactly how much you have to contribute to your future house when it’s time to buy. Automatic deposits can help you stay on track and grow your savings quickly.  

Saving For a Down Payment Only

Since we’re talking about saving, let’s discuss some of the others costs you should consider as you’re looking forward to your new home.

As the buyer, you’ll be responsible for several closing costs. They can include:

  • Loan origination fees — 1% of the home’s purchase price
  • Down payment — at least 3% of the home’s purchase price
  • Escrow fees — 2% of the home’s purchase price
  • Title insurance — varies by location
  • Homeowner’s insurance — 1 year of premiums
  • Private mortgage insurance — up-front premium or monthly payments
  • Property tax — 6 months 
  • Escrow fees — 2% of the home’s purchase price

It’s also a good idea to save money for your move-in plan. That could include shelling out money for professional movers, a moving truck, and more. In addition, new houses often require new appliances and other upgrades around the property to make it feel like a home. Though you’ll likely get a better idea of how much you need after you choose the house you want, it’s good to anticipate these extra expenses from the beginning. 

Overestimating How Much House You Can Afford

It is a waste of time and energy to start looking for houses when you don’t know how much home you can afford. You don’t want to end up looking at houses that are out of reach and get your hopes up only to have them crash down again.

First-time homebuyers should look for homes where the loan amount leaves with a comfortable monthly payment that won’t cause extra stress on their lives. 

You can avoid homebuyers’ mistakes like these when you get a mortgage preapproval letter, which will tell you exactly how much you can afford.

Going With The First Mortgage Lender

Since we mentioned mortgage preapprovals, we thought it might also be good to mention that it’s essential to compare offers. Mortgage interest rates and closing costs vary from lender to lender. This is a huge one on the list of homebuyer mistakes — almost half of the borrowers looking to buy a home don’t shop for a loan.

Avoid this mistake by applying with multiple lenders. All mortgage applications made within a 45-day window will count as just one credit inquiry, so your credit won’t plummet if you get all your applications done within a short time frame.

Not Taking Advantage Of First-Time Home Buyer Programs

First-time homebuyers don’t often have a ton of money saved up for the down payment or closing costs. However, don’t feel like you can’t afford a home without a considerable sum saved up! There are plenty of low-down-payment loan programs that you can participate in. In addition, you might qualify for down payment assistance and competitive mortgage rates for first-time homebuyers.

Ask your real estate agent or mortgage lender about first-time homebuyer options and look for programs in your state. For example, the Federal Housing Administration loans have a minimum down payment of 3.5%, and some other conventional loan programs allow down payments as low as 3%.

Not Checking Out The Neighborhood Before You Buy

You’re not just buying a new home; you’re moving into a new community. So check out the neighborhood before you buy to ensure it’s the right fit for you and your family’s lifestyle. 

It’s good to check out the entertainment options that are available locally, as well as the distance to nearby schools, restaurants, grocery stores, and more. Travel costs can add up, so don’t forget to calculate the commute.

Skipping The Home Inspection

One of the biggest homebuyer mistakes you can make is skipping the home inspection. Home inspectors will help you evaluate a house and identify major structural issues your potential home might have, including repairs needed and the condition of included appliances. The goal is to make sure the home is liveable and that both the buyers and the sellers have a clear view of the house’s condition before any sale is finalized.

Though skipping an inspection can save you a little money upfront and even give you an edge in this competitive market, it could cost you thousands of dollars later. In addition, if you find significant damage after you close, you might end up having to pay more than the home is worth. 

Talk to your real estate agent or ask your friends and family for home inspector recommendations. The inspector’s report can give you leverage when it comes to negotiating repairs or the price of the house.

Underestimating The Costs Of Homeownership

Remember that the monthly costs don’t go away when you buy a house. As a result, you might have different bills equal to more than what you were paying when you were renting. This could come as a surprise if you haven’t prepared.

You’ll have a mortgage payment, but also gas bills, cable bills, electric bills, water bills, and more! In addition, your new home might come with higher costs or entirely new bills you hadn’t considered. 

Avoid surprises by working with a real estate agent who can tell you about the neighborhood’s property taxes and insurance costs. You can request to see the seller’s utility bills for the last twelve months, too, so that you can get a better idea of how much those things will cost after you move in. 

Final Thoughts

Buying your first home (or at least first home in a while) should be an exciting life step! It can be a journey that offers comfort, financial benefits, plus security, and stability. Your home is where you’ll welcome family for the holidays, celebrate big wins with your friends and loved ones, and watch your family grow all under one roof. Let 41 Realty Group help you enjoy the home-buying process without getting completely overwhelmed. Get in touch with our team today and let us help you shop for the home you want and avoid some common homebuyer mistakes.

Prepare Your House For Freezing Weather 41 Realty Group Sellers

How To Prepare Your House For Freezing Weather

Wind, snow, and ice may be dangerous to your house and your finances. Fortunately, there are precautions you can take to avoid the expense and bother of winter damage – as well as savings on heating bills.

Though typically winter house preparation should be completed in the fall, it’s never too late to take care of your home when the temperature drops. Here are a few tips to help you prepare your house for freezing weather.

Tips for Protecting Your Home From Freezing Temperatures

When it comes to weatherproofing a home in a cold-winter climate, the various structural and mechanical systems have an additional burden. Water might be challenging in any situation, but the difficulties are much more significant in locations where it stays snowy and icy for weeks or months on end.

Here are some guidelines to help you avoid the problems caused by frigid temperatures and weather.

Winter Weather Prep For The Outside Of Your Home

When the weather goes south, and the snow seems to trap you inside, you’ll be relieved that you have taken these precautions to secure your home.

Remove leaves, twigs, and other debris from your gutters to allow melting snow and ice to flow freely. This can avoid ice damming, which occurs when water is unable to drain through the gutters and instead seeps into the house, which might make water drip through the ceiling or into the walls.

You might also consider installing gutter guards. Gutter guards keep debris out of the gutters as debris might interfere with the water’s flow away from the house and into the ground.

Trim trees that are overgrown or dead branches to prevent them from breaking away and causing damage to your home or vehicle. Trimming excess branches could also prevent the weather from hurting someone who may be walking by your property.

It’s also possible that your stairs and handrails need to be replaced. When snow and ice accumulate on broken steps and railings, they become highly dangerous.

Use caulk to seal cracks and wall gaps to keep chilly air and dampness out of your house. Weatherstripping around windows and doors will prevent heat from escaping and cold air entering.

Prepare The Inside Of Your House For Freezing Weather

Water pipes can break due to extreme cold, snow, and ice. Likewise, water heaters are more likely to fail in the winter because of colder temperatures. Ensure your home’s internal systems are in working order for safety and efficiency. Consider having your heating system inspected. Furnaces, boilers, and chimneys should be serviced at least once a year.

Consider Adding Extra Insulation

Attics, basements, and crawl spaces can all benefit from extra insulating. For example, heat may escape through an attic when the temperature is too high, causing snow or ice to melt on the roof. Water then may refreeze, resulting in more ice buildup—and possibly ice dams that cause your roof to collapse. Well-insulated basements and crawlspaces will also aid in pipe protection. To keep pipes from freezing, consider insulating garages and other unfinished surfaces.

Insulation or plug-in heating cable can be used to prevent pipes in attics and crawl spaces from freezing. Make sure you get UL®-rated versions of heating cables with built-in thermostats; they will turn on the heat when it’s needed. Always follow manufacturers’ recommendations carefully when using the cables.

Install an emergency pressure release valve in your plumbing system. This will prevent the system from being overwhelmed by freezing pipes and possibly causing a pipe to burst.

Take Steps To Prevent Flooding

Your experienced contractor can also help you avoid flooding from melting snow and ice runoff by suggesting actions to prevent it. For example, internal basement wall coatings, sump pumps, and other improvements may help protect your property and belongings from water damage.

Consider purchasing a sewer backup insurance policy. Sewer systems may be overwhelmed by melting snow flooding. Thousands of dollars in damage can be caused to floors, walls, furniture, and electrical systems if raw sewage backs up into the drains in your home.

Sewer backup is not covered by standard homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, and it isn’t covered by flood insurance; nevertheless, it may be purchased as a separate product. Contact your insurance provider and ask them what they recommend.

Prepare Emergency Kits

Make a winter survival kit: Road salt, non-perishable foods, a car charger for phones, flashlights, batteries, and sleeping bags. Extra cash is always helpful. Channel your inner Boy Scout by keeping emergency supplies available when severe weather strikes.

If possible, include any medicines or first-aid supplies in the kit. Most convenient stores have ready-made disaster kits available if you don’t want to make your own emergency pack.

Contact Your Insurer

Check to see if your policy covers any winterizing expenses, such as stormproof shutters or sensors that detect high water flow and automatically turn off the water supply. These fixtures can help you save money on your insurance premiums too. Keep in mind that the insurance company benefits when you take steps to safeguard your property.

Invest In A Home Generator

To ensure that your refrigerator, heating system, and lights stay operational in the event of a power outage, get a standby generator that can keep you and your family warm and keep your pipes from freezing. Generator prices for small homes can be as little as $500. First, do some homework to figure out what type of generator would work best for your family. Then, before you install one, consult an expert electrician and make sure what you’ve chosen is safe and efficient. 

Install A Carbon Monoxide Detector

Keep your family safe and warm! If you don’t ventilate your heating equipment properly, it might leak carbon monoxide, which is harmful. Carbon monoxide detectors will let you know if something is wrong so that you can address the problem.

Conclusion

Montana gets COLD. You want your home to keep you and your family safe and warm. Taking care of these weather tips on your home can help ensure that your home stays in good order for a long time. 

Did we miss anything? Share your thoughts about winter home prep with us! We’d love to hear how you prepare your house for freezing weather. 

Have more real estate questions? Get in touch with us here.

Mortgage Rates 41 Realty Group Buyers

Everything You Need To Know About Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates are the interest rates set for a home loan. It is also known as a “mortgage.”

Mortgage rates are derived from mortgage-backed securities (MBS), bonds backed by U.S. mortgages. Mortgage rates vary depending on the type of loan and the lender and can be confusing!

Understanding what factors influence mortgage rates might help you comparison-shop for mortgage rates and feel confident that you’re receiving a fair price. Ready to dive in?

How Mortgage Rates Are Determined

Comparing loan offers is critical if you want to get the greatest home deal. Unfortunately, loan estimates are jam-packed with data and statistics, which can be challenging to understand if you’re a first-time buyer.

Don’t let all of these figures overwhelm you, though. As long as you understand the mortgage rate you’re receiving, you have a solid foundation on which to compare your loan options. 

What Are Mortgage Rates?

A mortgage rate is the interest rate you’ll be charged to borrow money. The yearly interest amount will be a proportion of your total loan balance.

There are two types of mortgages: fixed-rate and adjustable-rate. Your interest rate is constant throughout the duration of your loan with a fixed rate.

For example, a lender quotes you a 6% fixed mortgage rate on a $300,000 loan. This means you’ll pay 6% of your loan balance every year until you sell the home, refinance, or pay it off.

An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) is a type of home loan with an interest rate that fluctuates after a certain amount of time. For example, the 5/1 ARM is one of the most popular adjustable-rate mortgages. For the first five years, you will receive a set interest rate, and then it adjusts once a year after that.

Factors That Determine Mortgage Rates

Lenders set mortgage rates on a borrower-by-borrow basis. They consider many different factors, both larger economic and personal factors like the borrower’s individual financial situation.

Larger economic factors can include:

  • Strength of the economy
  • Inflation rates
  • Employment
  • Consumer spending
  • Housing construction and other market conditions

On the other hand, personal economic factors typically include:

  • Credit score
  • Credit history
  • Down payment size
  • Loan-to-value ratio
  • Loan size, type, and term
  • Debt-to-income ratio
  • Location of the property

Your unique financial position will have an impact on the interest rates you’ll get. The quality of your credit score, as well as factors like your down payment size, the amount of money you’re borrowing, your income, and more, will all play a role.

To get the lowest interest rate, you should have:

  • A good credit score
  • A down payment saved up
  • A low loan-to-value ratio
  • A low debt-to-income ratio

How To Shop For The Right Mortgage Right

Mortgage rates are unpredictable, changing without notice or warning. When shopping for a mortgage, it’s vital to understand the techniques as well as have a strategy. You must shop the “right way” if you want to get the best deal.

It’s also essential to keep in mind that when you’re looking for a mortgage rate, you’re shopping for a mortgage rate as well as any associated closing costs. You can’t have one without the other.

Mortgage lenders will never offer you a rate without including any associated costs, so keep an eye on your quotations – a rock-bottom rate is meaningless if your closing expenses are incredibly high.

There are two options for obtaining mortgage rates. You may either look for a particular mortgage rate or a specific closing cost. When you can isolate a single loan variable for comparison, such as “cost” or “mortgage rate,” it’s simple to determine which mortgage company is offering the best deal.

Let’s pretend you want a rate of 4.00 percent, for example. This is your “fixed” variable. So all you have to do now is inquire about mortgage lenders’ lowest closing fees at a 4.00% interest rate.

Alternatively, let’s say you want to take out a loan with no closing costs. In this scenario, closing expenses are your fixed variable – they’re $0.

To choose the best mortgage lender, simply inquire with each one about what their interest rate would be if there were no closing costs. Then, you pick the lender who offers you the lowest rate.

Conclusion

Are you looking to buy a home in the near future? If so, understanding what factors influence mortgage rates might help you comparison-shop for mortgage rates and feel confident that you’re receiving a fair price. Interest rates can be fixed or variable, depending on the type of loan product desired – it’s important to compare both types before making a decision. 

We can help you get a fair price for mortgage rates. So call us at (406) 969-4141 or reach out online today. We’ll get back to you with personalized advice on how to find the right loan company today!

We have contacts in Billings, Montana, that help our clients find the rate for them so that they can get the house they want when they want it.

2021 Yellowstone County Veterans Non-Profits General Real Estate

2021 Yellowstone County Veterans Non-Profits [VIDEO]

Every year, 41 Realty Group partners with local non-profits.  In 2021, our efforts will focus on non-profits serving veterans in Yellowstone County. 

This video details some of the work we will be doing, as well as introduces you to the non-profit we will be working most with – Veterans Navigation Network.

Intro: Montana currently has the highest veteran suicide rate in the nation.

30% of veterans have a significant disability rating through the VA.

7.5% of veterans live at or below the poverty level.

Montana has one of the highest per capita rates of veterans in the United States. Our rate runs about 10%, which means we have an incredibly patriotic state and for that  I ’m very grateful.

Nicole King: Hey there  I’m Nicole King, broker-owner of 41 Realty Group in Billings, Montana. Those are staggering statistics. Every year my brokerage partners with area non-profits to raise money and awareness for their causes.  In 2020 we focused on nonprofits working with women and children,  and in 2021 we’ll be working with non-profits serving veterans, so that hopefully those statistics will go down.

To prepare for this year’s work we met with about a dozen local nonprofits in October and November. During those meetings we asked where is the gap in services for veterans in Yellowstone County? And how can we either fill that gap or get a really good start at it?

Aside from funding their answers were consistently, 1) getting the word out about their programs and 2) connecting with those who need their services. So then the question became how can we help? One after another after another they told us about a unique and effective newer non-profit and said that if we could help spread the word about them and their services and then raise funds to help them stay in business, all the other veteran non-profits would benefit

I had the privilege of talking with Blake Fuhriman with the Veterans Navigation Network, or VNN for short, a few days ago. Check out our conversation to learn more about their incredible work.

Nicole: The first person that I wanted you to meet is Blake Fuhriman. He is the chairman of Veterans Navigation Network and they’re who we’re going to focus primarily on throughout 2021. Blake, tell us how you came up with the idea for Veterans Navigation, a little bit, about yourself, what (VNN is the initials for Veterans Navigation Network), what you guys do and how you also connect with all the other non-profits here in town.

Blake: Of course so yeah my name is Blake Fuhriman, I am an army veteran — served four years in the ranger regiment and just Veterans Navigation Network was completely born out of my transition from service into civilian life. It was very difficult for me and it is for a lot of veterans to go from this high stress, high-octane environment where you also have the support of all your brothers in arms or brothers and sisters in arms, and you go from that to the next day you’re out you can’t even get onto the military base in many cases, right?

So, you get into that realm and then you move home or move to wherever and you don’t have any of your battle buddies or people you served with in the military and it’s just a complete change of pace. And if you don’t know what you’re doing, which many many people don’t, then it can lead to a lot of challenges. So that’s what Veterans Navigation Network started out of — was my own challenge during that transition.

Nicole: Sure. How long ago did you transition out of the military into civilian life?

Blake: I got out of the military in 2013 and I think I’m still transitioning out of service, right? Even though I only served four years, I mean, it was such a huge part of my life and you know there’s still days that I struggle. Just like anybody would struggle, right? I miss friends, miss fallen comrades — all of that. But you know,  that is part of my life, so you never really transition away from that but you integrate into this new world that you live in.

Nicole: Absolutely. So the first couple of years that you were out because VNN has only been around for about two years? 

Blake: A year.

Nicole: A year, okay, so you were out in 2013 and now it’s 2021. Tell us about those few years — what were the things that you particularly struggled with? Did you just find that there were no services to meet your needs, or? Tell us about that.

Blake: Yeah so when I got out, I had just gotten divorced. I had three deployments to Afghanistan, one of those I lost a couple friends and throughout the three, several people that I knew had been killed in combat and seeing atrocities of war, you know? I just saw that and then I came home to my family, moved from Georgia where I was stationed, to Wyoming.

And my family, thankfully for me, I had a super supportive family and they were really awesome and tried to help out in any way they could but they just didn’t know what I had gone through. And so I turned to alcohol to numb the pain that I’d gotten from a parachuting injury and the emotional pain that I’d suffered from my time in service. Alcohol, gambling — everything, you know, that I shouldn’t have been turning to is what I was turning to.

So I didn’t have that support or that network and that’s what I relied on and it was pretty disastrous for me just as a person and as a human being to go down that road without support.  And not necessarily without support but without support that was targeted and knew exactly what I needed in those times, right?

Nicole: Definitely, and so your experience with not having the targeted support is what birthed, then, VNN, and you’re here in Billings now. So you went from Wyoming to Billings — tell us about that.

Blake: Yeah, so when I got back to Wyoming, you know, I struggled. I looked for other jobs and just couldn’t find anything that brought the camaraderie of the military back or filled the void that I felt in my life. And so I just applied to all kinds of jobs and struggled, struggled, struggled.

And finally I got in a position, a training position, where there was other veterans involved and they really guided me and mentored me and helped me turn my life around. That was in Alabama and then I moved back from Alabama to Montana with my current wife and just realized that that mentorship was so powerful and that I saw a ton of veterans in Billings, Montana that lacked that in their own lives.

And it just hit me like, why isn’t anybody doing this, right? And so, there’s so many great organizations in Montana and Billings, specifically that help veterans. But as a struggling veteran if I went to one and it didn’t work out perfect or something like that, right, I would have just, you know, I would have gotten discouraged. I would have maybe thought well that didn’t work out I’m gonna go drink or I’m gonna go, you know? 

For me, that was a challenge. So having somebody to walk that walk with me would have been immensely powerful and that’s that’s why I want to work to make VNN work in the Billings community and I think it will, it’s already starting to prove to work.

Nicole: Yeah it sounds like it! So what you guys do is you have mentor veterans who then you partner up with veterans who are either just brand new to the transition out or maybe have transitioned out years ago and are now needing to plug into the services that are available to them, like Adaptive Performance Center, Dog Tag Buddies, Horses Spirits Healing, there’s — it sounds like basically dozens of different  non-profits that they can plug into, plus then the services available to the VA.

And you help them do that with one person that they can talk to who then can help them.

Blake: Yeah, exactly. So there’s basically a constant, right? They may go to an organization for help and it may not be the right fit, right? And so what we want to be is that constant so even if this organization doesn’t work out or this option with the VA doesn’t work out or whatever it is, you have that constant that’s there by your side the whole time and just walking you through that and helping you problem solve.

You know, not necessarily holding your hand, but keeping you accountable and making sure that you’re getting what you need.

Nicole: It’s probably pretty similar to somebody having your back in the military, you’ve got your comrades that are right there that are going through that entire walk with you side by side, and this is essentially what you’re providing for them.

Blake: Exactly, that’s a great way of putting it and you know there’s organizations like Dog Tag Buddies and APC, and Horses Spirits Healing, and they’re all great and they do great things for veterans, but you know at any at any time they may not fit the whole bill.

So you know they all have their individual niches that they help the veterans fill and the gaps that they help them fill but at the end of the day, they don’t do everything, right? And neither do we at Veterans Navigation Network, but we’ll find out who does and that’s something that takes something off the plate of the veteran and helps them get what they need.

Nicole: And their friends and family. Like, your friends and family, when you first transitioned out, I bet they were sort of felt helpless saying I want to help so much but I don’t know how, I don’t know who to reach out to and you can step in and fill that for them. By helping both the caregivers the friends, the family members, and the veteran all at once to find exactly what that veteran needs, and I would imagine it also helps a bit with the isolation.

There’s somebody who’s checking back in with that veteran constantly. I mean one of the statistics we heard is that Montana has the highest suicide rate in the nation for veterans and I bet that constant checking in helps with a little bit of that isolation.

Blake: Yeah, yeah, that’s really what we want to see is just, you know, obviously everybody wants to see that number go down and that statistic disappear but, you know,  it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere right now and we would love to be a part of that disappearing.

So checking in on these veterans is something immensely important, right? In the military you had a team leader, a supervisor or somebody like that or even just your battle buddy — somebody who’s the same rank as you checking in on you,  just watching your back, having your six, whatever you want to call it.

Veterans Navigation Network may not be able to replicate that completely because, you know, you’re not going to have that same relationship you have with somebody that you cleared a room with in Afghanistan, but it’s somebody who knows what that was like and can provide something really close to that.  More than more than a spouse or more than a parent or friend who is a civilian could do, right? Because they just don’t understand that.

Nicole: Yeah, when you sit down with a veteran versus if I sit down with a veteran, they’re not going to tell me the same things. They’re not going to talk to me in the same way they’re not going to feel the same connection with me that they will with you or with any of the other mentors that you guys provide. 

You know, another statistic that we heard at the beginning of the video is that about 10% of Yellowstone County’s population are veterans and that’s actually a huge number. If you google Billings population or just Yellowstone County’s population,  161, 000 is what 2019’s population was estimated at. We’ll see what it comes out with the census but if you just take 160,000 that’s 16,000 people right here in Yellowstone County that have experienced some portion of the military and that’s a huge number.

Blake: It is, yeah.

Nicole: Really that’s just, everybody that we’re walking past in the street could be a veteran, right? Statistically, one in ten is going to be. So that’s a lot of people you can’t possibly serve all of them, not all of them necessarily need help.

Blake: Yeah a lot of them could be our mentors, right? Alot of them you know may not be mentors, may not be veterans who need help but they can help in some other way. Really, they’re the community that we live in. They’re business owners, they’re doctors, they’re nurses, they’re the different people in the community that you’d never know but together, you know, the veteran community in Billings — they’re the community of Billings, really.

Just being able to connect that community and, you know, just realize that there’s that family here is incredibly important.

Nicole: And it seems like, so one of the other things that we heard is that about seven and a half percent of veterans live at or below poverty and I would imagine there’s quite a bit of pride involved in asking for help, right? So if they’re going without food, going without necessities, going without housing — whatever it is that they’re needing, you’re a great place to reach out to and get this one person they can talk to and get the assistance they need.

Blake: Yes that’s exactly, with Covid, because we haven’t been able to do that face-to-face mentorship as much, that’s really what we’ve been doing, is a lot of resource guiding; guiding vets to resources that they need and then just being somebody they can call and talk to, you know, and, you know, just help guide them or help problem solve with different things it’s it’s been great to see that we can help even in these crazy, crazy times that we’re living in.

Nicole: I  bet even the smallest things are really making a big difference at this point too.

Blake: Yeah, yeah, definitely. Some examples of that are just whether it’s a family in the community that just wants to give something, right? Food, gas, you know, fill a veterans gas tank, something like that, has been incredibly powerful. One around the holidays like we are now but just with COVID and isolation, just veterans knowing that people in the community do care about them.

Nicole: Absolutely so one of the things that we’re setting up is working with coffee shops and restaurants and different vendors to both set up services directly for veterans but also for them to have information about VNN and about all the different non-profits here in town right there and available at their counters for people to pick up.

So maybe they don’t have to make that phone call but they can pick up a piece of paper and have that with them and connect with Blake later. Also several coffee shops in town are creating specials on their menus where you order that and the money that is generated from that special goes directly to VNN to help them to continue providing the services. 

That, I would imagine, all that community support helps those veterans feel like they belong, that they’re valued, and the community is there for them.

Blake: Oh, yeah definitely, definitely. You know, there’s a ton of support in the community and we love seeing it come together to support our veterans.

Nicole: We appreciate you, thank you for your service and thank you for starting VNN. I think 2021 is going to be amazing for VNN, for you, for everybody and we just so appreciate you.

Blake: Well, thank you, definitely and thank you for the work that you’ve done and your organization has done on this project.

Nicole: It’s been my pleasure for sure. 

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Nicole: Isn’t Blake amazing? I am so excited to work with him this year over the next few weeks we’ll be rolling out various partnerships throughout Yellowstone County that will 1) raise awareness for VNN but they’ll also raise funds for them so they can keep serving veterans.

I’ve been reaching out to local business owners over the past couple of months and have been humbled by our community’s support of veterans. So many have generously agreed to have info cards and posters and donation boxes of other businesses. And some have even created specials that when you purchase them, they directly raise money for VNN. We’ve created a tab on our website https://41realtygroup.com/2021-non-profits/ that list all of the businesses around town who are supporting our efforts this year and what they’re doing.

Go there right now to learn where you can shop to support VNN. We’ll also have a direct link to VNN’s website so you can learn more about them next month. We will post a video introducing you to a few of the other area non-profits who also serve veterans and to whom VNN gets to refer veterans.

Make sure that you like and subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you don’t miss that video. Thank you to everyone who has served or is serving in the military. We can never express how much we appreciate you.

See you next time.

Conclusion (Updated To Include Totals From 2021)

Here are our summaries from 2021: 

We donated $50,570.61 over the course of the entire year.

– $33,935.11 went to Veterans Navigation Network, $9,500 to HER Campaign, $4,800 to Yellowstone Foundation Properties, and $2,335.50 to the Billings Community Foundation. 

– $221.77 was also raised through donation boxes at several coffee shops throughout Billings.

– $470 was donated by Harper & Madison

At least 10% of every single commission generated by 41 Realty Group is donated. The more we sell, the more we are able to give! We are SO incredibly thankful for everyone who chose to use 41 Realty Group to buy or sell real estate this year and for all our agents who worked so hard to close those transactions. These donations are possible because of our clients and our agents.

Home Appraisals 41 Realty Group General Real Estate

Everything You Need To Know About Home Appraisals

A home appraisal is a critical component of any transaction, whether you’re buying a property with a mortgage, refinancing your existing loan, or selling your house to someone other than an all-cash buyer.

If you’re a buyer, owner, or seller, you’ll want to understand how an appraisal works and how an appraiser decides what a property is worth. So let’s dive into everything you need to know about home appraisals.

Your Guide To Home Appraisals

When it comes to purchasing, selling, or refinancing a property, the prospect of having an appraisal done may not be on your mind. But perhaps it should be: An appraisal determines how much a home is worth for everyone involved in the process, including the buyer, seller, and lender.

The aim is to prevent the buyer and the lender from paying too much. Although a home appraisal isn’t the most exciting aspect of purchasing or selling a house, it is essential. Learn more about how property appraisals work below.

What Is a Home Appraisal?

An appraisal is an expert estimation of a property’s worth. Appraisals are often employed in buy-and-sell transactions and occasionally used in refinance situations. They are unbiased and aim to accurately assess a property value so that everyone involved in the transaction has the truth. 

An appraisal is used to verify whether the property’s contract price is fair given its condition, location, and features in a purchase-and-sale transaction. In addition, an appraisal protects the lender in a refinance situation by ensuring that they are not providing the borrower more money than the home is worth.

Lenders want to ensure that homeowners are not over-borrowing for a house as collateral for their mortgage. If the borrower defaults on their mortgage and enters foreclosure, the lender will sell the property to recover the money it gave.

The appraisal protects the bank against lending more than it might be able to recover in the worst-case scenario.

The Appraisal Process and How Values Are Determined

Because an appraisal typically protects the lender’s interests, the lender will generally request one. A good expert evaluation costs several hundred dollars and is paid for mainly by the borrower.

According to the Appraisal Institute, a professional real estate appraiser should be licensed or certified—as required in all 50 states—and be familiar with the local market. In addition, the appraiser must be impartial and have no direct or indirect interest in the deal under federal rules.

Comparable sales and market trends determine the appraisal value. In addition, the home’s features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, floor plan functionality, and square footage, are critical criteria when determining the property’s worth.

The interior and exterior of the home must be thoroughly examined, and any factors that damage the property’s value, such as necessary repairs, must be noted.

Appraisers use the Uniform Residential Appraisal Report from Fannie Mae for single-family houses. The report requires the appraiser to document the property’s interior and exterior and its neighborhood and comparable sales. The appraiser then analyzes and concludes the property’s worth based on their inspections.

The report must include:

  • A map of your neighborhood showing the appraised property and comparable sales used
  • Exterior photographs of each comparable property used
  • An explanation of how the square footage was determined
  • A sketch of the exterior
  • Photographs of the front of the house, the back of the house, and the street
  • Any other pertinent information, including market sales data, public tax records, public land records, and anything else the appraiser used to determine the property’s fair market value.

How Can You Improve Your Home Appraisal?

It’s critical to obtain a precise house appraisal. However, for sellers or homeowners who wish to refinance their mortgage, it’s still ideal for achieving as high an appraised value as possible. The most significant influence on the value of a home is sales data in the immediate market area. If all the houses surrounding the home you’re interested in are increasing in sales price, then your property will also likely continue to increase in value with no changes.

Though home appraisals aren’t really within your control, there are a few things you can do that might ensure your property is appraised at a higher value.

It’s essential to have good curb appeal. Mow the lawn, weed the garden, and trim the hedges. Confirm that the home is in excellent condition. The appraiser should be able to detect your house’s potential. Your style may not matter much, but curb appeal and maintenance may influence its assessed value.

For sellers specifically, the most significant way you can impact the market value of your home is to make improvements. For example, fresh paint and new flooring can go a long way to provide the greatest return on investment.

Make a list of recent house enhancements. Make a note of any improvements or unique features you’ve added to your property and leave it for your appraiser. You should include things like if you installed new roofing or siding or replaced your heating system, as well as when the work was completed.

Focus on the crucial upgrades. Though pools and large yards can make a difference, updated kitchens and bathrooms definitely carry more weight when it comes to a home’s value. However, we should include a warning. Don’t get too attached to the repairs you’ve made. Even if you’ve spent thousands remodeling, it doesn’t automatically mean your house will increase its worth.

What Sellers Need to Know About Home Appraisals

As a seller, an incorrect appraisal might force you to decrease the price of your home to sell it. However, waiting for an all-cash buyer who doesn’t need an appraisal as a condition of closing the transaction will unlikely result in a greater sales price. No one wants to overpay for property.

Unfortunately, if your neighborhood has recently suffered from distressed sales, the appraisal value of your property will be reduced. However, you may be able to persuade the appraiser that your home is worth more if it’s in much better shape than foreclosures and short sales in your neighborhood.

What Refinancing Homeowners Need to Know

If you’re refinancing a standard mortgage and a low appraisal will likely prevent the refinancing from happening. Your loan must appraise at or above the amount you wish to refinance for it to be approved.

If you possess an FHA mortgage, you can refinance without an appraisal through the FHA Streamline program—a fantastic alternative for underwater homeowners. Ask your real estate agent if this might be the right option for you.

The Bottom Line

The home appraisal is simply another box to check off a closing checklist when everything goes well. However, when the appraisal value is lower than anticipated, the transaction might be delayed or even called off.

Whether you’re purchasing your first house or refinancing, a basic understanding of how the appraisal procedure works can only work in your favor. This is especially true if you’re buying your first property. Contact your local real estate agent if you need help with this process. The team at 41 Realty Group would love to help you with buying, selling, inspections, home appraisals, and more! When you need experience on your side, give us a call today.

Down Payment 41 Realty Group Buyers

How Much Do I Need For A Down Payment?

If you’ve been thinking about buying a home, then you might be starting to panic about a down payment. A down payment is the cash amount you’re usually required to pay upfront and is usually a certain percentage of the total. So, for example, a $350,000 home would be $35,000.

When applying for a mortgage to buy a house, your down payment will contribute to the home’s overall purchase price and represent your initial ownership of the home. After that, your mortgage lender provides the rest of the payment for your house, and you’ll make mortgage payments monthly for a pre-determined amount of time. 

Lenders require a down payment to show that you are serious about buying and have the funds to make payments. There are a few exceptions to that, however, and we’ll get into that here. Read on as we talk about everything you need to know about down payments. 

Everything You Need To Know About A Down Payment

Coming up with enough money for a down payment is usually the most significant roadblock when it comes to buying a house. So let’s discuss how much you really need.

Minimum Down Payment Requirements 

Though it’s not always required, you’ll likely hear the advice that you should put at least 20% down on a home to increase your chances of getting approved for a mortgage with the best rates. However, it’s important to note that most minimum down payments vary depending on the type of mortgage. 

FHA loans are backed by the Federal Housing Administration and can require as little as 3.5% for first-time home buyers.

On the other hand, VA loans are guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and usually do not require a down payment. These loans are reserved for current and veteran military service members and eligible surviving spouses.

USDA loans, supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Program, are another loan program that requires no down payment. They are for rural and suburban homebuyers who meet the income limits and basic requirements.

Most down payment requirements can also vary by lender and the borrower’s credit history. For example, loan providers might require a higher down payment if you have a meager credit score, while those who have excellent credit get better rates.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Putting 20% Down?

Though you might not have to put 20% down on your new home, we thought it would be beneficial to look at the pros and cons of how a larger down payment can affect you.

Pros

If you can put 20% down, you’ll be able to avoid being required to buy private mortgage insurance (PMI). PMI is insurance that protects your lender if you default on your mortgage.

Another benefit of putting more of a down payment down on your home is access to better interest rates. The interest rate is known as the percentage of the principal or outstanding balance on your mortgage that your lender will charge you every month. The more money you put down, the less of a risk you seem to lenders.

In addition, when you put down a larger down payment, your overall loan is smaller, which means that you’ll pay less in interest over time. This also translates to smaller monthly payments.

Lastly, larger down payments give you a competitive edge over other buyers. People who have saved more for the home buying process usually have their finances in order, which means you’ll have fewer problems finding a lender.

Cons Of Putting 20% Down

We know that putting that large of an amount isn’t right for every buyer. There are a few drawbacks to saving a 20% down payment.

First, it can feel financially risky. Once you put money down on your mortgage, it’s not easy to get it back. So some might warn you to put a little less down and instead keep liquid cash and build your emergency fund.

Secondly, less money in your bank account means less money for those minor repairs your new home might need. The larger the down payment, the less money you’ll have to take care of things that arise when you first move into your home.

Lastly, it can take a long time to save 20%, and each month you’re not spending paying a mortgage, you’re wasting on rent, which many buyers don’t think is worth the larger down payment.

Can You Buy A House Without A Down Payment?

Yes! As we mentioned above, if you qualify for specific programs, you can buy a home with no money down. In addition, government-backed loans are insured by the government, making them less of a risk for lenders because it promises that the government will cover the financial loss if you default on the loan. This means that lenders will be more willing to give you better interest rates and less strict down payment requirements.

Both VA loans USDA loans have a zero-down payment guarantee, given that you meet the minimum qualifications set by the USDA and the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA).

Bottom Line When It Comes To A Down Payment

Though at the end of the day, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. An excellent place to start is to look at how your down payment will affect your monthly payment. Talk to your mortgage lender or use any number of online mortgage calculators to help you plan out how much you can reasonably afford. With just some basic info, they can break down your estimated mortgage and help you plan what down payment amount makes sense for you.

Talk to your local real estate agent too. They deal with home buyers every day and have some great resources and references to help you make sure your finances are in order. Do you still have questions? Contact 41 Realty Group today.

DIY Home Projects 41 Realty Group Sellers

DIY Home Projects You Can Tackle In One Weekend

Got a free weekend and looking for DIY home projects that will improve your home and maybe even add to your home’s value? We’ve compiled a list of DIY projects you should hopefully be able to tackle in one weekend! We tried to choose items that weren’t too complicated or too expensive so that you could check off your to-do list and add value to your space without breaking the bank.

Ready to take on a home improvement project? Let’s go!

5 DIY Home Projects You Can Do Quickly and Easily

The coronavirus pandemic has driven most of us inside, and we are all spending more time at home than ever. Have you started making a list of home projects that would make your home a little more attractive or functional? Then, get ready to add a few more items to your to-do list! From installing a new backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom, or finally painting that front door, check out some of our easy DIY home projects that you can tackle this weekend.

Install Your Own Peel-And-Stick Backsplash

The kitchen is often referred to as the heart of the home, and if you’re tired of looking at the dingy and dull backsplash in your kitchen, then it might be time to upgrade. Updating your kitchen is as easy as purchasing a peel-and-stick backsplash. Removable tiles are the way to go when you want to get your project done in one quick weekend. These are also a great option if you’re renting and want to personalize your space without damaging the walls.

In terms of DIY home projects, replacing the backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom is a great option because there are so many options so you can match your style exactly. In addition, you can make it bold and stand out to drawn attention, or keep it classic and neutral – whatever your heart desires.

Build Your Own Fire Pit

Love to spend time outside with your family? Why not install a permanent fire pit that looks elegant and inviting. Your local hardware store will have everything you need – concrete wall blocks, pebbles, and a paver base. In just a couple of hours, you can have a professionally looking fire pit that everyone will love. 

If you want your home to be the go-to place for parties and events, then a fire pit might just be the way to go. Here’s a guide to help you build it on your own.

Paint The Front Door and The Shutters

Another easy and fun DIY home project is to update the curb appeal! Paint your front door a fresh and bright color, replace the old hardware, and invest in some potted plants you can put near the entrance of your home. You might even consider installing outdoor lighting to enhance your home’s natural architecture and illuminate the porch or walkway. 

Consider replacing your welcome mat and painting your shutters to match your new door to make a bold and welcoming entrance. 

Construct A Set Of Garage Shelves

If you have a free weekend, now is a great time to take care of that cluttered garage. DIY garage shelves are excellent to handle that mess once and for all. Floor-to-ceiling garage shelves seem to be a staple in most garages, though they don’t always come with the house. Get all your family’s knick-knacks off the floor and on the wall so that you can finally park in your garage.

Clear storage bins are another great way to help you stay organized and quickly find what you need right when you need it. Organize by season and never again buy new decorations because you don’t want to wade through the clutter.

Switch To Energy Efficient Windows

Another project that is probably the most expensive on our DIY home projects list is switching to energy-efficient windows. Especially if you have an older home with single-pane windows, you could be wasting quite a lot of energy, making your bills go up more than they should. So instead, improve your home’s efficiency by replacing single-pane windows with high-performance double-pane windows. 

Though it costs a lot initially, it could save you a lot of money yearly. 

Replace Your Shower Head and Hardware

One straightforward and relatively inexpensive project is to replace the hardware throughout your home. One winner when it comes to adding value to your home is to choose a low-flow showerhead that gives you the same sensation but helps you save on your water bill. In addition, you should check your hard-water status. Many new showerheads provide more control options and are more efficient. 

Add new hardware throughout your bathroom or in the kitchen to add a spa-like or luxurious feel without remodeling the entire space. For example, new handles on cabinets can go a long way in making your whole home feel updated.

Ask Your Real Estate Agent For What Buyers Are Looking For

If you’re thinking about selling, or it might be a possibility down the road, then you might tailor your DIY home projects towards those potential buyers. The best way to find out what buyers are looking for when buying homes is to talk to your real estate agent. Trends come and go, and your real estate agent is usually right on the pulse of those trends. They might be able to give you good advice about which style of backsplash tile to use, what paint colors are best, and what things you should avoid. If you’re in the market and need help buying or selling, let 41 Realty Group hold your hand through the process. Our team really cares, and will be your champion when it comes to negotiations, paperwork, dealing with buyers, and more. We’d love to answer your real estate questions and help you on your real estate journey. Get in touch with us here.