The Closing Process When Buying a Home in Farmington Hills MI

The Closing Process When Buying a Home in Farmington Hills MI

The Closing Process When Buying a Home in Farmington Hills MI: A real estate closing, also called a settlement, is the process of transferring ownership of a home from the seller to the buyer. In the context of real estate, “closing” is basically synonymous with “signing.” Reviewing and signing documents is the bulk of what a home buyer does during this process. But that’s not all that happens.

Summary: Come closing day, the buyer and seller will sign all the necessary papers to officially seal the deal; the property title and ownership get transferred from the seller to the buyer; the home buyer will sign a variety of documents prepared by the escrow/closing agent and will also pay whatever closing costs are due; and agent commissions and other funds are distributed by the escrow agent. 

The closing process is usually managed by an escrow agent and sometimes an attorney who specializes in handling real estate closings and preparing the related documents. In some states, the home buyer and seller can close separately at different dates and times. While in other states, both parties must attend closing at the same time and sit at the same table with their respective real estate agents and/or attorneys. 

Even though you and the seller may agree on a closing date, your agent will probably work with your lender and title agency to suggest a timeline that allows them enough time to correctly execute their end of the deal.  

The Steps at Closing

While the logistics mentioned above can vary, the steps at closing are basically the same.  

  • The home buyer will bring a cashier’s check to cover all remaining closing costs and fees. 
  • The property title will be signed over from the homeowner to the buyer, thus transferring ownership.
  • The closing agent (or lawyer or notary) will register the new deed with the appropriate government office. After that, the home buyer will be listed as the official owner of the property. 
  • The respective real estate agent(s) involved in the transaction will receive their commission fees. 
  • The seller will receive any proceeds they earned from the sale, once their mortgage balance and closing costs have been paid off.

Closing day documents

A real estate transaction is a complex process that involves a lot of paperwork, and there are many documents that buyers will need to sign on closing day. Fortunately, the escrow or closing agent will have all of the required documents prepared and ready for the buyer’s signature upon arrival at closing. 

There will be mortgage-related documents, legal disclosures, tax records, and more. It’s not uncommon for buyers to sign their name over a dozen times before all is said and done. Buyers will have to sign the property deed, bill of sale, mortgage agreement and note, transfer tax declaration, and closing disclosure. 

Once the buyer has finished signing all of the closing documents, and all funds have been properly distributed, the deed of ownership will transfer from the homeowner to the buyer. If it is a joint closing, the seller will then hand over the keys. If it is a separate closing, the seller’s agent might deliver the keys (This can vary).

How Farmington Hills MI homebuyers can prepare in the days leading up to closing

Knowing what happens in the days leading up to closing can reduce some of the stress and help ensure a smooth transaction. Here is what you can typically expect to happen: Your mortgage lender will send you a closing disclosure a few days prior to closing. Among other things, the closing disclosure shows how much the buyer has to pay in closing costs. The buyer will then need to obtain a cashier’s check in the amount stated in the closing disclosure.

In some cases, the buyer might wire the money to the title/escrow company, rather than paying by cashier’s check. Typically, the buyer brings a copy of the homeowner’s insurance policy to the closing, or an insurance binder, depending on what the lender requires. During the week prior to closing, last-minute underwriting issues may also be resolved in some cases. 

What Farmington Hills MI homebuyers need to bring on closing day

Buyers need to bring all necessary paperwork with them to closing to make sure nothing is missing, different, or overlooked. Some important documents include: 

  • Cashier’s or certified check – You’ll pay your closing costs with a certified check or a wire transfer from escrow.
  • Proof of homeowners insurance – Lenders require an insurance policy before closing   
  • Photo ID – You’ll need to bring a government-issued identification for the title company.

Closing day check list

Review the following checklist to make sure that you have everything in order so that the closing day process runs as smooth as possible:

  • Contact the closing agent – Once you know who your closing agent is and where they’re located,  contact their offices to see if they have any special instructions for you. They’ll typically have a list of items you’ll need to bring.
  • Review your closing documents – Legally, you should receive your closing documents 3 business days prior to closing. Make sure you read them so you understand what you’re signing and check for any errors. Double-check all of the basics: spelling, numbers, names, etc.  
  • Check the fees – Your most recent loan estimate should be close to your closing disclosure. Some fees may change a little, but there shouldn’t be any big surprises at this stage.
  • Review seller responsibilities – Review your final walk-through checklist to make sure the seller has taken care of all their responsibilities.
  • Be payment ready – Expect to write the check for closing costs. Plan in advance if you are transferring funds from another account so they are cleared.

How much It costs to close on a house in Farmington Hills MI 

Closing costs are the fees that third parties charge and typically include the home inspection fee, premium for homeowners insurance, appraisal fee, credit report charges, attorney expenses, and so forth. Some of these fees, such as earnest money and home inspection fees, will need to be paid before the actual closing day. On average, homebuyers will pay between 3% to 4% of the purchase price of the home in closing fees. For example, if your home costs $300,000, you might pay between $9,000 and $12,000 in closing costs.

The takeaway

Closing on a house in Farmington Hills MI may seem like a cumbersome process, but the toughest part of it is the waiting. If you enlist the help of a skilled Farmington Hills MI REALTOR and other experienced professionals at every stage of the process, you will feel confident and look forward to closing day when you get the keys to your new home!

Partner with award-winning Farmington Hills MI REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam   

Tom Gilliam is proud to be a trusted REALTOR® in Farmington Hills MI for the past 20 years, offering his guidance and expertise to home buyers and sellers. Tom understands that buying or selling a home is a significant financial and life decision and that you are looking for someone you can trust.

As your agent, Tom will protect your interests, advocate for you, negotiate on your behalf, and do whatever it takes to ensure a smooth transaction and the best results possible. He is able to provide the kind of knowledge, skills, dedication, and personalized service you need and deserve. If you or someone you know is interested in Farmington Hill MI real estate, feel free to reach out to Tom directly at (248) 790-5594 or you can get in touch here.

Tom Gilliam, REALTOR®
RE/MAX Classic
29630 Orchard Lake Rd.
Farmington Hills 48334
Direct: 248-790-5594
Office: 248-737-6800
Email: Tom @ Homes2MoveYou.com
License #314578 

Buying a Home in Farmington Hills MI? Conventional Mortgages 101

Buying a Home in Farmington Hills MI? Conventional Mortgages 101

Buying a Home in Farmington Hills MI? Conventional Mortgages 101: This year, you are finally ready to buy a home in Farmington Hills MI. Whether it is your first time or you are an experienced homebuyer, all the mortgage options out there can be overwhelming. Not all home loans are the same and knowing what kind of loan is most appropriate for your particular situation will prepare you for talking to lenders and getting the best deal.

In this article, we are going to take a closer look at conventional mortgages so that you can determine whether this type of loan is the right one for you. 

  • The majority of home loans are conventional loans
  • Conventional loans typically cost less than FHA loans but they can be harder to qualify for.
  • Conventional loans are not guaranteed in part or in full by the government.
  • Conventional loans are offered by private lenders and may be secured by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mac (government-sponsored entities)  

Conventional loan requirements

Requirements for conventional loans vary by lender, but you typically need to demonstrate credit-worthiness and the ability to make your payment every month. Here are some things that a conventional loan lender might look at:

  • Your credit score. In many cases, the bottom cut-off for conventional loan approvals is a credit score of 620. Though depending on other factors, such as the amount of the mortgage and your income, you may need a higher score to qualify.
  • Your credit history. Mortgage lenders may look more in-depth at your credit than other lenders, and you may be asked to clear up old accounts or negative items before final approval.
  • Your income and debt. The lender wants to ensure that you’re able to pay the required monthly amount. They’ll look at how much you make, as well as how much debt you already have—the ratio of your debt to your income. If your debt is already taking up a large chunk of your income every month, you’re less likely to be able to pay a mortgage and less likely to get approved.
  • The value of the home. Typically, banks won’t approve a loan that’s more than the value of the home in question. You usually have to get the property appraised before a mortgage can be finalized for this reason.

Types of conventional loans 

Conventional loans come in a wide range of types. Here are the five most common forms of conventional financing:

1). Conforming loans

A conforming loan simply means the loan amount falls within maximum limits set by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) that back most U.S. mortgages. The main difference between Fannie and Freddie comes down to who they buy mortgages from. Fannie Mae mostly buys mortgage loans from commercial banks, while Freddie Mac mostly buys them from smaller banks or “thrift” banks.  Fannie and Freddie must purchase loans that fall within the loan limits set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which is why conventional loan limits exist.  The types of home loans that don’t meet these guidelines are considered non-conforming loans.

The 2021 maximum limit for conforming loans on single-family homes is $548,250 for most counties across the U.S. Conforming loans are best for borrowers with good credit and low debt-to-income ratios who are looking to get a mortgage with a loan amount that doesn’t exceed conforming loan limits.

2). Non-conforming or ‘jumbo’ loans

Also known as non-conforming loans, jumbo loans are conventional mortgages that exceed the conforming loan limits in a given area. Higher-end homes are often associated with this loan type. Because their significantly higher balances don’t conform to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guidelines, jumbo loans aren’t eligible for purchase by either entity. 

Jumbo loans differ from high-balance loans, which are conforming loans with higher balances to reflect average home prices in high-cost areas such as several counties throughout New York and California. The conforming loan limit on single-family homes in high-cost areas for 2021 is $822,375. Jumbo loans are best for borrows who are looking to finance the purchase of a home that costs more than the conforming loan limit in their county.

3). Fixed-rate loans

A fixed-rate loan is a type of conventional mortgage that has the same interest rate for the life of the loan and won’t change. The principal and interest portion of your monthly mortgage payment will be the same amount each month. You’ll generally pay more interest with a longer-term loan and interest rates typically are higher than rates on adjustable-rate mortgages. It also takes longer to build equity in your home with a fixed-rate mortgage. This type of conventional loan is best for borrowers who plan to stay in their home for at least seven to 10 years and who prefer predictable, stable mortgage payments, so they can more precisely budget other expenses month to month.   

4). Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs)

Unlike the stability of fixed-rate loans, adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) have fluctuating interest rates that can go up or down depending on market conditions. Many ARM products have a fixed interest rate for a few years before the loan changes to a variable interest rate for the remainder of the term. For example, if you have a 5/1 ARM, your mortgage rate would be fixed for the first five years and then adjust annually for the remainder of the loan term. 

ARMs typically start out with lower rates than fixed-rate mortgages, but you can expect rates to increase over time. Most ARMs have a lifetime cap of 5%. During the years that the rate adjusts, it can go as high as 5% above the initial fixed-rate, according to the CFPB. Adjustable-rate mortgages are best for borrowers who are comfortable with a certain level of risk. If you don’t plan to stay in your home beyond a few years, an ARM could save you big on interest payments.  

5). Non-qualified mortgages

A Non-qualified mortgage (Non-QM) is a loan that doesn’t meet the standards of a qualified mortgage and uses non-traditional methods of income verification to help a borrower get approved for a home loan. This type of conventional loan caters to borrowers with low credit scores or other unique financial situations such as self-employed borrowers or those who rely on commissions or bonuses for a large portion of their income. Non-qualified mortgages will typically have higher mortgage rates and fees than prime mortgages, which are reserved for buyers with excellent credit scores. 

Non-QM loans have gotten a bad rap due to the large number of subprime loans that were doled out before the housing crisis and then went into foreclosure. Thanks to a tightening of federal regulations on the mortgage industry, lenders are now more cautious about who they loan to – non-QM lenders included. But for prospective homebuyers, there are plenty of non-QM lenders who can serve their needs. This type of conventional loan is best for borrowers who have serious blemishes on their credit profile, a DTI ratio above 43% or other unique financial situations, but can comfortably afford a mortgage.

Advantages of conventional loans

Conventional loans usually require less paperwork and can be obtained more quickly than government-insured loans. A conventional loan is a great option if you have a solid credit score and little debt. One of the best advantages of conventional loans is the mortgage insurance (MI). Typical monthly MI for FHA loans is 1.35 percent of the loan amount and in most cases will last for the life of the loan. Whereas typical conventional lending MI can be as low as .50 percent of a loan amount on a 95 percent Loan-To-Value (LTV), depending on your fico score. You can avoid PMI by paying 20% of the loan upfront, which will lower your mortgage payments.  

Conventional loans can be more flexible than FHA or other government-backed loans. Lenders of this type of loan don’t have to follow specific government guidelines, which means they may be able to work with borrowers who don’t fit those requirements. They can also provide mortgages for properties that are more expensive. In most cases, borrowers save money in the long run with a conventional loan because there’s no upfront mortgage insurance fee, and the monthly insurance payments are cheaper. 

Disadvantages of conventional loans

Significant documentation is required with this type of loan to verify income, assets, down payment, and employment. Conventional loans also generally come with a higher bar for approval because they are not guaranteed. Because the lender is taking on all the risk, risk, you may need a higher credit score and stronger debt-to-income ratio to qualify for these loans.

Closing costs on a conventional loan usually must be paid at settlement and can’t be rolled into the mortgage as they can with an FHA loan. Such things as loan origination fees are set by the lender, not the government agency, and may be higher. Additionally, lenders may require processing or application fees not applied with government-insured loans. With a conventional loan, you are also more than likely have to pay PMI if your down payment is less than 20 percent of the purchase price.

The Takeaway

Before you move forward on a mortgage, carefully consider your individual financial situation. Review your circumstances and needs and do your research, so you know which types of mortgage loans are the best fit and most likely to help you reach your goals.

Partner with Award-winning Farmington Hills, MI REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam   

Tom Gilliam is proud to be a trusted REALTOR® in Farmington Hills MI for the past 20 years – offering his guidance and expertise to home buyers and sellers. Tom understands that buying or selling a home is a significant financial and life decision and that you are looking for someone you can trust. As your agent, Tom will protect your interests, advocate for you, negotiate on your behalf, and do whatever it takes to ensure a smooth transaction and the best results possible.

Tom works hard for his clients and is able to provide the kind of knowledge, skills, dedication, and expertise you need when buying or selling a home. Feel free to reach out to Tom directly at (248) 790-5594 or you can get in touch here.

Tom Gilliam, REALTOR®
RE/MAX Classic
29630 Orchard Lake Rd.
Farmington Hills 48334
Direct: 248-790-5594
Office: 248-737-6800
Email: Tom @ Homes2MoveYou.com
License #314578 

10 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Buying A Home in Farmington Hills MI 

10 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Buying A Home in Farmington Hills MI 

10 Common Buying Mistakes to Avoid When Buying A Home in Farmington Hills MIAre you currently in the market to buy a home in Farmington Hills, MI? If this is your first rodeo as a homebuyer, or if it’s been several years since you last bought a home, knowledge is power. Buying a home comes with many big decisions, and it doesn’t hurt to be mindful of possible pitfalls so you can avoid as many mishaps as possible. Some are minor, some are costly and some even involve buyers purchasing homes that are completely wrong for them.

Here are 10 common home buying mistakes to avoid and and some expert advice to help you on your journey to homeownership:  

1).  House hunting before getting pre-approved  

House shopping can be exhilarating and it can also be taxing, so it’s no surprise that many people want to get going on it right away. However, shopping for a home before getting pre-approved for a mortgage is not a good idea.

Getting pre-approved ensures that you have the financial ability to purchase a home, helps you understand how much home you can afford, and shows sellers that you are serious when making a purchase offer. There’s no need to tour any Farmington Hills MI homes for sale if you don’t know which properties are within your budget.

Sellers are also more likely to consider your purchase offer if they know they are dealing with someone who already has a mortgage pre-approval.

2).  Obtaining a rate quote from only one lender

No two lenders are the same and each one may offer different interest rates, closing costs or other fixed fees. If you don’t shop around, you could miss out on a better deal. By getting quotes from a number of lenders, you’ll be able to choose the one that will save you the most money at the closing table or over the life of the loan.

Pick at least three to five lenders and request quotes on the same day to help you compare apples to apples. According to Freddie Mac, getting a quote from just one additional lender could save you an average of $1,500 over the life of a loan.

Get a quote from 5 different lenders and the average savings doubles. Visit lender websites to learn more about the products they offer and read customer reviews to make sure you’ll be in good hands once the loan closes. Find a lender who is a good fit in costs and in service.  

3). Not checking credit reports and correcting errors

Mortgage lenders will scrutinize your credit reports when deciding whether to approve a loan and at what interest rate. If your credit report contains errors, you might get quoted an interest rate that’s higher than you deserve. That’s why it pays to make sure your credit report is accurate.

You can request a free credit report each year from each of the three main credit bureaus. Errors on your credit reports can cause your credit scores to be lower than they should be, which can affect your chances of getting a loan or credit card and how much interest you pay.

Federal law gives you free access to your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Using the government-mandated AnnualCreditReport.com site is the quickest way, but you can also request them by phone or mail. Disputing any credit report errors and getting those negative items removed can be a quick route to a better score.

4).  Buying more home than you can afford

Don’t buy more house than you can reasonably afford. The maximum loan amount on your pre-approval letter doesn’t mean you should look at homes that are priced to match it. The lender may know your income and even your debt-to-income ratio, but that’s all they look at when it comes to monthly expenses.

The lender doesn’t know how much you pay for groceries, gas and insurance, healthcare, school tuition or loans, utilities, and other expenses you might have.  If maxing out the loan amount you qualify for means that you are stretching your monthly budget to the limit, you probably need to find a more affordable home.

Even if you can make your mortgage payments with all of your other monthly expenses, a higher monthly payment can affect other areas of your life. The more money you borrow, the less you’ll be able to put towards important savings such as your 401(k) or emergency fund.

5).  Depleting your savings

One of the biggest mistakes many first-time homebuyers make is spending all or most of their savings on the down payment and closing costs. Some people scrape all their money together to make the 20 percent down payment so they don’t have to pay for mortgage insurance.

This may translate to substantial savings on the monthly mortgage payment, but it’s not worth the risk of living on the edge. Instead, aim to have three to six months of living expenses in an emergency fund, even after you close. Depleting your emergency or retirement savings to make a large down payment is a risk best avoided.

6).  Being Unaware of the hidden costs of owning a home

Many first-time home buyers are unaware of the hidden costs of homeownership because they’ve never owned one. When moving from an apartment to a home, there can be some additional costs that you may not have experience paying as a renter.

These hidden costs include higher utility bills, new utilities like trash removal and recycling, property taxes, homeowners insurance, outdoor maintenance and equipment, maintenance and repair, tools for home improvement and maintenance, furniture to fill more space, etc.

Figure out how much each expense will be, add that amount to your savings goal, and have it saved up before you move in.

7).  Believing that you must have a 20% down payment

There’s still a long-standing myth that you need a 20% downpayment in order to buy a home, but that isn’t actually correct. When you make a bigger down payment on your home purchase, you’ll likely get a better mortgage rate and a lower monthly payment, since you’re not borrowing as much. But that doesn’t mean you should hold off purchasing your first home, or upgrading to a new one, until you have a 20% down payment.

You can get a conventional loan with as little as 3% down or a loan backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) with just 3.5% down. There are also 0% down payment programs available if you’re in the military, or you’re a low- to moderate-income borrower buying a home in a rural community.

Plus, some first-time buyers may qualify for a down payment assistance program through their state or local housing agency.

8).  Not planning for closing costs

Your down payment isn’t the only upfront cost you’ll have as a homebuyer. With such a big emphasis on the purchase price and the down payment, many people fail to plan for closing costs, which can range from around 3% to 6% of your loan amount. To prepare for closing costs, it helps to know what’s included in this major expense.

Although some of these may not be included in your closing costs, common fees include the appraisal, home inspection, property taxes, title and attorney fees, lender fees, application fee, prepaid interest, loan origination fee, discount points, title search fee, mortgage insurance application fee, upfront mortgage insurance, and lender and owner title insurance.

Other costs and specific mortgage fees will depend on where the home you are buying is located and the type of loan you get.

9).  Changing jobs or having income gaps

In order to qualify for a mortgage, you need to show stable job history and consistent income. Your lender will scrutinize your income and employment history over the last two years to determine whether you have that stability.

If you’ve been in between jobs in the past two years, be prepared to explain why.  If you’re looking to take a new job before closing on your mortgage, be strategic because it may delay your loan approval. Communicate potential job changes to your lender and be prepared tp supply any additional documentation they may request.  

10).  Applying for credit or charging up credit before closing

One important home buying mistake you want to avoid is taking on more debt in the middle of the mortgage lending process. This misstep can quickly derail your loan approval. It’s recommended that borrowers not take on any new debt or apply for a credit card until after closing on their new home. The loan underwriting department at the bank may be checking your credit after you’re approved and before the bank funds your loan.

If you max out your credit card or take out an auto loan before your closing, that debt is factored into your mortgage application. More debt pushes up your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, or the percentage of your gross monthly income used to repay debt. If your DTI ratio exceeds the maximum ratio for your loan program, your loan may not be approved.

Partner with Award-winning Farmington Hills MI REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam   

Tom Gilliam is proud to be a trusted REALTOR® in Farmington Hills MI for the past 20 years – offering his guidance and expertise to buyers and sellers. Tom is able to provide his clients with the kind of knowledge, skills, commitment, and expertise they need and deserve. He also understands that buying or selling a home is a significant financial and life decision and that you are looking for someone you can trust. Tom will protect your interests, advocate for you, negotiate on your behalf, and go the extra mile to ensure a smooth transaction and the best results possible!

If you or someone you know is interested in buying or selling Farmington Hills MI real estate, feel free to reach out to Tom Gilliam directly at (248) 790-5594 or you can get in touch here.

Tom Gilliam, REALTOR®
RE/MAX Classic
29630 Orchard Lake Rd.
Farmington Hills 48334
Direct: 248-790-5594
Office: 248-737-6800
Email: Tom @ Homes2MoveYou.com
License #314578 

 

Homeowners Insurance When Buying a Home in Farmington Hills MI

Homeowners Insurance When Buying a Home in Farmington Hills MI

Homeowners Insurance When Buying a Home in Farmington Hills MI –  Buying a home is exciting whether you are a first-time homebuyer or an experienced homeowner. However, often overlooked in the long list of things to do between price negotiations, home inspection, and mortgage terms is getting homeowners insurance, which is an important step in the home buying process and one that should be a priority. 

Of course, If you plan on paying off your home in cash, then technically you don’t need home insurance before closing. There’s no law that requires home insurance, but most mortgage lenders will require you to get home insurance coverage before they will agree to finance your home purchase. 

Home insurance protects the mortgage lender’s investment by providing the money to repair or rebuild the home if it is damaged or destroyed by a fire, a lightning storm, a tornado, or some other covered event. By securing the coverage you need before you even move into your new home, you safeguard your purchase from disaster.

What does homeowners insurance cover?

Most homeowners insurance policies cover flooding from a burst pipe or other water leak in your home, but they usually don’t cover flooding as a result of a natural disaster. Depending on the location of your home, your lender may require you to buy insurance that covers earthquakes or floods. 

Basic homeowners policies will usually include liability coverage to protect you against legal action if someone is hurt on your property. 

If you have valuable items that exceed the special dollar limits of your policy, such as a fine art collection, sports memorabilia, or expensive jewelry, you may want to purchase extra coverage, known as a Personal Articles Floater (PAF).

Shopping for homeowners insurance

It’s a good idea to start shopping for homeowners insurance as soon as you sign a contract to buy a Farmington Hills MI home. This allows you to get your policy in place before closing on the purchase. It’s important to research various policy options as they may offer different levels of coverage. 

Once you have decided on an insurance policy that fits your needs, make sure you check that it also meets the requirements of your lender. 

The cost of home insurance

The cost of homeowners insurance depends on a number of factors, including the coverages you select, features of your home, and the value of your personal belongings. There may also be extra costs for additional coverage or increased coverage limits.

Once you’ve determined that your desired policy meets your mortgage lender’s requirements, you can purchase the insurance, which should be done sometime before you go to the meeting to officially close on your home. 

The insurance company will typically pre-approve the policy and then wait for your escrow/title company to send a request for Proof of Insurance when the final closing date is near. The insurance company will then email or fax the confirmation of coverage before the closing date. 

Paying for your home insurance

Paying for your home insurance is usually made simple with an escrow account, which is a separate bank account that you maintain with your mortgage lender. An escrow account can help you set aside money each month for bills that relate to your property and usually come due as a lump sum.

Typically, your escrow payment covers part of your property taxes, mortgage insurance, and homeowners insurance. When you have an escrow account, you make a single payment, usually monthly, which includes both your loan payment and your escrow payment.  

The takeaway

When buying a home in Farmington Hills MI, your lender will probably require at least a basic homeowners insurance policy and may also require additional coverage for natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes. Make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to get your policy in place before closing on your new home.

Partner with Top-rated Farmington Hills MI REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam

Whether you are interested in Farmington Hills MI homes for sale or it’s time to list your current property, experience matters most in a changing market. Top-rated Farmington Hills REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam offers over 20 years of local experience, in-depth market knowledge, and access to the most up-to-date listings for Farmington Hill MI homes for sale and the surrounding area.

Known for his professionalism and care for every detail, Tom is an expert at uncovering the perfect home for his clients’ lifestyle needs in the right neighborhood or community.

2020 Best of Farmington Hills REALTOR - Tom GilliamIf you are ready to sell your home, Tom will create a comprehensive marketing plan that exposes your home to the public as well as to other real estate agents through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), other cooperative marketing networks, open houses for agents, etc.

Your listing will appear on all the most popular real estate sites where buyers spend hours a day looking at homes such as Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, REMAX, Redfin, and dozens of others. 

Your property will also be featured on Tom’s own highly-trafficked website Homes2moveyou.com. You can be assured that your home will get sold quickly and for the best price.

Search Farmington Hill MI Homes for Sale

Tom works very hard for his clients. He will protect your interests, advocate for you, negotiate on your behalf, and go the extra mile to ensure the best possible results. If you or someone you know is interested in buying or selling Farmington Hills MI real estate, please give top-rated Farmington Hills MI REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam a call today at (248) 790-5594 or you can get in touch here.

Tom Gilliam, REALTOR®
RE/MAX Classic
29630 Orchard Lake Rd.
Farmington Hills 48334
Direct: 248-790-5594
Office: 248-737-6800
Email: Tom @ Homes2MoveYou.com
License #314578  

Home Appraisal Tips For Farmington Hills MI Homebuyers

Home Appraisal Tips For Farmington Hills MI Homebuyers

Home Appraisal Tips For Farmington Hills MI Homebuyers

You’ve been shopping for a home in Farmington Hills MI for weeks and you finally uncover the ideal home for your family in a great neighborhood. You put in a good offer and it gets accepted. If you are planning on taking out a mortgage, it now has to undergo a comprehensive appraisal of its worth. 

Although this may sound harsh, your dream-home-to-be isn’t a “home” to your lender. It’s a house and collateral, and if for some reason you are unable to make your mortgage payments, your lender can foreclose on your home and sell it to recoup all or some of its costs. 

Your mortgage lender will have to know the value of your home before handing over that large chunk of change. After you sign a home purchase agreement (the contract between you and the seller about the terms of the pending sale), and before your lender approves your loan, the home you are planning to buy must pass an appraisal by an unbiased third party – the appraiser.  

The home appraiser’s job 

An appraiser is a state-licensed or certified professional. Their job is to assess an opinion of value or how much a house is worth. The appraiser is a neutral party who doesn’t represent the buyer or the seller, a contractor chosen by your lender through an appraisal management company (AMC).

They work for lenders and help them decide if the home is a sound investment and worthy of the loan you’re asking for. Unlike a home inspector, who looks for defects that could cost the buyer money down the road, an appraiser looks at home components that contribute to the home’s value.

The appraiser will survey the house in person using specific criteria such as location, age, condition, square footage, additions/renovations, and recent sales of comparable homes. Home appraisals aren’t public records, but appraisers use public property records and other public documents to support their appraisals.

Some sellers have their Farmington Hills MI homes appraised before listing them on the market to help arrive at a fair asking price.

Who pays for the home appraisal?

Generally, it’s the buyer’s responsibility to pay for the home appraisal, a fee that’s typically included in your closing costs. While the cost of a home appraisal varies by the size and location of the home (among other factors), you can expect to pay around $300 to $400, according to recent estimates. Appraisers protect the bank and buyers from a potentially bad deal, so they’re worth every penny. 

The appraisal report

Once the appraisal is finished, the appraiser issues a written report with their opinion of the value of the home, and both the buyer and the lender will receive a copy of the report. If the home’s appraised value ends up higher than what you’re paying, generally the deal will move forward. 

However, if the appraisal is lower than your offer on the Farmington Hills MI home, your lender won’t give you a loan for more than the appraised value. If you and the seller agreed on $300,000, for example, but the appraisal value comes in at $290,000, there is a $10,000 shortfall. 

Options if faced with a low appraisal

If you are faced with a low appraisal, all is not lost. Negotiations aside, if the appraisal price seems much lower than the contract price, your agent can ask the appraiser to reevaluate their report. Appraisers can sometimes make mistakes in the basic data.

For instance, the number of bedrooms or baths. Or maybe, they need context for the comps, such as if a recent sale for a lower-than-typical price was between family members — or if a more-recent sale is available that changes the perspective.

If your offer included an appraisal contingency, you can renegotiate the price with the seller by persuading them to lower the sales price or split the difference between the home’s appraised value and the offer. If the seller is unwilling to negotiate, you can choose to walk away from the deal and keep your deposit.

Or you could decide to pay the additional $10,000 out of pocket so your home loan goes through. In either case, you have options. 

Talk with your Farmington Hills MI REALTOR® about their experience with the appraisal process, how they would recommend handling any shortfall — and how willing you should be to walk away from a deal that’s not right for you.

Partner with Top-rated Farmington Hills MI REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam

Whether you are interested in buying a home in Farmington Hills, MI, or it’s time to list your current property, experience matters most in a changing market. Top-rated Farmington Hills REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam offers over 20 years of local experience, in-depth market knowledge, and access to the most up-to-date listings for Farmington Hill MI homes for sale.

Known for his professionalism and care for every detail, Tom is an expert at uncovering the perfect home for his clients’ lifestyle needs in the right neighborhood or community.

2020 Best of Farmington Hills REALTOR - Tom GilliamIf you are ready to sell your home, Tom will create a comprehensive marketing plan that exposes your home to the public as well as to other real estate agents through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), other cooperative marketing networks, open houses for agents, etc.

Your listing will appear on all the most popular real estate sites where buyers spend hours a day looking at homes such as Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, REMAX, Redfin, and dozens of others. 

Your property will also be featured on Tom’s own highly-trafficked website Homes2moveyou.com. You can be assured that your home will get sold quickly and for the highest market price.

Search Farmington Hill MI Homes for Sale

Tom works very hard for his clients and will be there to protect your interests, advocate for you, negotiate on your behalf, and do whatever it takes to ensure the best possible results. If you or someone you know is interested in buying or selling Farmington Hills MI real estate, please give top-rated Farmington Hills MI REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam a call today at (248) 790-5594 or you can reach him here.

Tom Gilliam, REALTOR®
RE/MAX Classic
29630 Orchard Lake Rd.
Farmington Hills 48334
Direct: 248-790-5594
Office: 248-737-6800
Email: Tom @ Homes2MoveYou.com
License #314578 

 

Tips for Winning a Farmington Hills MI Real Estate Bidding War

Tips for Winning a Farmington Hills MI Real Estate Bidding War

Tips for Winning a Farmington Hills MI Real Estate Bidding War

After weeks, maybe even months, searching for a home in a low-inventory competitive market, you finally uncover the perfect home for your family. It’s in the right neighborhood, near top-rated schools, has the right number of bedrooms, and provides convenient access to everyday amenities. The house has everything you have been dreaming so you decide to make an offer. But, because of the current housing market, your Farmington Hills MI REALTOR® comes back with the news that several other buyers have also submitted offers on the home. Suddenly you find yourself in a situation with multiple buyers vying for the same property, otherwise known as a bidding war. 

With so few houses for sale today and historically low mortgage rates driving buyer activity, bidding wars are becoming the new norm. In a bidding war, each buyer will make a more attractive offer, often driving up the price beyond what it was listed for, in hopes of winning the home. Although bidding wars are more likely to occur during hot seller’s markets when there is less inventory for buyers to choose from, the quality of the property, the desirability of its location, and the strength of its school district can also increase the chances of a bidding war. If you do find yourself in a bidding war, there are some things you can do to make your offer more appealing to the seller than the other offers. 

Here are some things you can do to up your chances of winning in a multiple-offer situation:

Hire an experienced Farmington Hills MI real estate agent

If you are serious about winning a bidding war, it would be wise to enlist the services of a reputable, seasoned real estate agent. A qualified REALTOR® will have the experience and skills necessary to help you win in a multiple bid situation. They will also have extensive market knowledge, which is crucial in determining the fair market value of the home you’re interested in.

By enlisting the services of a Farmington Hills MI real estate agent, you can feel confident that you won’t offer more than the house is worth or more than you can realistically afford to pay for it. Your agent will give you much-needed advice and also ensure that all decisions made are in your best interest. Bidding wars can be challenging to navigate, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer. It’s vital to do your research so you have a clear understanding of the process, the market, and the home you are interested in purchasing.

Waiving contingencies 

In a competitive market, buyers will often waive certain contingencies to make their offers more attractive to sellers. Contingencies in home buying contracts allow a way out for the buyer should there be unexpected issues with financing or defects with the property. By waiving certain contingencies—for example, your financial contingency (an agreement that the buyer will only buy the property if they get a large enough loan from the bank) or your inspection contingency (an agreement that the buyer will only buy the property if there aren’t any deal-breaker issues found during the home inspection) – you show just how serious you are about moving forward with the deal. 

Waiving contingencies can make an offer more appealing to the seller, but it can also be a risk for the buyer. If for example, you waive your inspection contingency and then find out during the inspection that the home has serious plumbing issues, you may have to sacrifice your earnest money to back out of the deal or pay for repairs once the title has been transferred. Although waiving one or more contingencies in a multiple offer situation could be the extra push needed to get the house you want, it ultimately comes down to how much risk you feel comfortable with.

There a number of different contingencies, but the three most common include the financing contingency, inspection contingency, and appraisal contingency: 

1). Financial contingency

One common strategy used to make an offer stand out from the competition is to waive your financing contingency. In a home sale and purchase agreement, financing contingency refers to a clause that states the offer is contingent upon the buyer securing financing for the property – a standard feature in most Offers and Purchase and Sales Agreements. If your mortgage is not approved for the amount of financing you need, the seller agrees to refund your deposit in full.  During a bidding war, waiving your financing contingency sends the message that you are confident you will get the loan no matter what.

With a clear picture of your finances and enough money in reserve, you can safely waive the financial contingency with minimal risk on your end. Of course, if you are paying for the home in cash, then financing is not an issue and you can exclude the financing contingency in your offer. Not only are you eliminating the need for a third party to get involved in the deal, but you’re also showing the seller that you mean business. There is a risk any time a lender has to get involved, so when you eliminate their presence, you eliminate the risk. 

2). Inspection contingency

In a standard real estate agreement, the buyer retains the right to back out of the contract if they find unacceptable issues with the property. This contingency allows the buyer to hire a home inspector to survey the home for damages before the deal closes. If major issues are discovered during the inspection, the buyer has the right to negotiate with the seller for repairs or back out of the deal. One safe way to waive your inspection contingency is to have a pre-inspection done on the property before ever making an offer.

If the report doesn’t reveal any serious issues, you can confidently waive the contingency with minimal risk. When a seller accepts an offer, their home is off the market. In a competitive market, the last thing the seller wants is to be waiting for an extended period of time for the inspection to happen. Make the contingency period no more than a week. If the home looks well maintained visually, it may be worth the risk to waive the inspection if you are confident you want the house no matter what. To minimize risk, the decision to waive inspection contingency should be made carefully and with the guidance of your real estate agent. 

3). Appraisal contingency

When an offer is accepted on a home, the lender will come out and appraise the property to determine its value. Mortgage lenders use appraisals to calculate the loan amount they will give buyers. If the appraisal falls short, the appraisal contingency lets the buyer cancel the contract rather than make up the difference in cost themselves.  If you waive this contingency, you are still responsible for purchasing the home if the loan does not work out – or you may be able to back out of the contract but lose your deposit. It is also possible the seller will decide to sue you if you break the contract.

That being said, more buyers these days are willing to waive appraisal contingencies to enhance their offer in a bidding war. Compared to a fully mortgage-contingent buyer, waiving the appraisal contingency is more attractive from the seller’s point of view because they have more certainty the deal is going to get done no matter where it appraises at. 

Waiving contingencies risk: Yes, there can be risk associated with waiving contingencies, but depending on the circumstances, a buyer might be in a position to do so.  When considering whether to waive contingencies, speak with your estate agent. They will be able to help you decide what’s best for you and help you determine if you are in a position to take on that risk. Your Farmington Hills MI REALTOR’s knowledge of normal practices and probable outcomes in the local market will make your offer more likely to succeed.

Up your offer

If you are set on winning a bidding war on a Farmington Hills MI property, your best bet is offering more money than the other buyers. Upping your offer doesn’t have to mean paying another ten thousand dollars or more. Sometimes, going up just a few thousand dollars can make all the difference between winning the bid on a property or losing out on it. One important thing to keep in mind when upping your offer is that just because you are ready to pay more for a house doesn’t mean the bank is. When it comes to your mortgage, you are still only going to be able to get a loan for up to what the house appraises for. So, if your higher offer gets accepted, that extra money might be coming out of your own pocket.

Pay in cash

This obviously isn’t going to apply to everyone, but if you have the cash to cover the purchase price, offer to pay it all upfront instead of getting financing. Not only are you eliminating the need for a third party to get involved in the deal, but you are also showing the seller that you mean business. Sellers typically prefer dealing with a buyer who can pay cash because they don’t have to worry about a potential buyer actually receiving the financing they need. There’s a risk any time a lender has to get involved and when you eliminate their presence, you eliminate the risk. According to a Redfin analysis of home sales over the past two years, buying a home without financing boosted a buyer’s chance of winning a bidding war by 97%.

Include an escalation clause

An escalation clause can be an excellent asset when trying to win a bidding war. An escalation clause is an addendum to your offer that states you’re willing to go up by X amount if another buyer matches your offer. More specifically, it dictates that you will raise your offer by a specific increment whenever another bid is made, with a cap. if winning a bidding war on a home is the end result you are looking for, there’s nothing wrong with putting it all on the table and letting a seller know how serious you are. Work with your agent to come up with an escalation clause that fits with both your strategy and your finances.

Be flexibility

The date of possession is often an important part of the offer in a multiple bid situation. Typically, the closing period lasts 30, 45, 60, or 90 days. Customizing the length of the closing to suit the needs of the seller can often help clench the deal over a higher offer. Sellers almost always want fast closings, usually 30 days. If the seller needs to coordinate selling with buying another home, or moving in a short amount of time, giving them the close date they want can often be the difference in getting the house or not.

If the seller needs a rent-back, you can offer to allow them to stay in the property after the close of escrow. Depending on the circumstances, you might charge them what your PITI (principal, interest, taxes, and, insurance) payment is or the local market rent rate. You can even consider giving it to them to enhance the terms of your offer, depending on the situation.

The takeaway

Bidding wars can be challenging to navigate, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer. It’s vital to do your research so you have a clear understanding of the process, the market, and the home you are interested in purchasing. Finding experienced representation is the best way to ensure a smooth and successful transaction in a multiple offer situation.  If you are a first-time buyer or even a seasoned buyer, you should seriously consider working with a qualified Farmington Hills MI real estate agent you can trust, and carefully listen to their advice.

 

Partner with Top-rated Farmington Hills MI REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam

Whether you are interested in buying a home in Farmington Hills, MI, or its time to list your current property, experience matters most in a changing market. Top-rated Farmington Hills REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam offers over 20 years of local experience, in-depth market knowledge, and access to the most up-to-date listings for Farmington Hill MI homes for sale. Known for his professionalism and care for every detail, Tom is an expert at uncovering the perfect home for his clients’ lifestyle needs in the right neighborhood or community.

2020 Best of Farmington Hills REALTOR - Tom Gilliam

If you are ready to sell your home, Tom will create a comprehensive marketing plan that exposes your home to the public as well as to other real estate agents through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), other cooperative marketing networks, open houses for agents, etc.

Your listing will appear on all the most popular real estate sites where buyers spend hours a day looking at homes such as Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, REMAX, Redfin, and dozens of others. Your property will also be featured on Tom’s own highly-trafficked website Homes2moveyou.com. You can be assured that your home will get sold quickly and for the highest market price.

Search Farmington Hill MI Homes for Sale

Tom works very hard for his clients. He will be there to protect your interests, advocate for you, negotiate on your behalf, and do whatever it takes to ensure a smooth and successful transaction. If you or someone you know is interested in buying or selling Farmington Hills MI real estate, please give top-rated Farmington Hills MI REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam a call today at (248) 790-5594 or you can reach him here.

Tom Gilliam, REALTOR®
RE/MAX Classic
29630 Orchard Lake Rd.
Farmington Hills 48334
Direct: 248-790-5594
Office: 248-737-6800
Email: Tom @ Homes2MoveYou.com
License #314578

 

 

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