Oakland County MI First-time Home Buyers: FHA Loans 101

Oakland County MI First-time Home Buyers: FHA Loans 101

 Oakland County MI First-time Home Buyers: FHA Loans 101

While most people consider homeownership the American dream, many are not able to qualify for a conventional loan, which is a type of mortgage loan that’s not insured or guaranteed by the government. Unlike conventional loans, FHA loans are backed by the Federal Housing Administration and help to take some of the risk from lenders and place it on the government for higher-risk borrowers. Although the government insures the loans, they are actually offered by FHA-approved mortgage lenders.

The FHA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), offers a wide range of loans to help different groups of people. FHA loans are helpful for Oakland County MI home buyers with limited savings and/or lower credit scores as they allow for down payments as low as 3.5% and a 580 FICO.  These types of loans are not only for first-time home buyers. Repeat buyers can get an FHA loan as long as they use it to buy a primary residence. FHA loans can also be used to refinance your home or for repairs on an older home.  

How FHA Loans Work

The Federal Housing Administration’s flexible underwriting standards allow borrowers who may not have stellar credit, high incomes, and/or cash savings the opportunity to become homeowners. With an FHA loan, borrowers must pay mortgage insurance, which protects the lender from a loss if the borrower defaults on the loan. The cost of insuring your loan is generally higher than with conventional mortgages, and you can expect to pay higher mortgage insurance premiums (MIPs) each month. Government-guaranteed mortgages are not available on high-priced homes, and you can see the cap in your area using the online tool on HUD’s website.

The differences between an FHA loan and a conventional loan 

When buying a home in Oakland County MI, It’s easier to qualify for an FHA loan than for a conventional loan, which is not insured or guaranteed by the federal government. FHA loans require mortgage insurance regardless of the down payment amount, compared to conventional loans where you need mortgage insurance for down payments under 20%. FHA mortgage insurance payments will be the same regardless of your credit score.

FHA loans

  • More rigid property standards
  • Lower credit scores allowed 
  • Somewhat higher down payment needed
  • Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is required for down payments of less than 20%

Conventional loans

  • Higher credit score needed (at least 620)
  • Slightly smaller down payments allowed
  • Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is required for down payments of less than 20%
  • More liberal property standards

One of the biggest advantages of an FHA loan is that only a 3.5% down payment is required for a home loan purchase (with a minimum 580 credit score). This is a lot less than other conventional types, which will ask anywhere from 5 to 20%. It’s worth noting that If you were to combine the FHA loan with a down payment assistance program, it could potentially mean that you would only need to put 0.5% down.

With an FHA loan, the down payment doesn’t have to come directly from the borrower; It can come from a family member, employer, or charitable organization as a gift. Also, if you prepay your mortgage before a certain amount of time, many conventional lenders will charge a prepayment penalty. With an FHA loan, there is no penalty for prepayment.

FHA loan limits for Oakland County MI in 2021

No matter which type of FHA loan you’re seeking, there will be limits on the mortgage amount. These limits vary by county. Limits for FHA Loans in Oakland County, Michigan range from $356,362 for a 1 living-unit home to $685,400 for 4 living-units.   

The different types of FHA loans

Loan qualification guidelines are fairly similar across the various types of FHA loans available:

  • Fixed-rate loans – Available in fixed-rate terms between 15 and 30 years, FHA mortgages come with a low down payment advantage- one of the lowest on the market.
  • Adjustable-rate loans – An FHA adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) comes with an interest rate that “adjusts” over the loan’s term; generally increasing. Many people are drawn to ARM mortgages because they offer initial rates significantly lower than a fixed-rate product.
  • FHA 245(a) loan – An FHA 245(a) loan packs a fixed rate graduated-payment mortgage, also known as a “growing equity mortgage.” Graduated payment mortgages structure your monthly payment to scheduled increases over the life of your loan. As your loan amortizes, you’ll reach a point in time when your equity starts gaining traction. These mortgages are set up in 30-year terms, but it’s not uncommon to pay off the loan early depending on which graduated plan you choose.
  • FHA energy efficient mortgage – The FHA Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) program is a financing add-on that allows FHA borrowers to roll the cost of approved energy efficiency upgrades into their home loan. Homebuyers commonly use this program to update their home’s windows, HVAC systems, and insulation.
  • FHA loans for mobile homes – It is possible to use an FHA loan to finance a manufactured or mobile home, but finding a lender willing to approve financing may take a few tries.  
  • FHA loans for condos – Many are surprised to find that they can purchase a condo using the FHA loan. Since some condo associations enforce rules regarding property sales and improvements, however, there are some restrictions when it comes to using your FHA loan for a condo.
  • FHA 203(k) – Compared to other types of FHA products, 203(k) loans offer the opportunity for buyers to purchase fixer-uppers while financing additional funds for home repairs and renovations into the mortgage.
  • FHA reverse mortgage (HECM) – FHA Reverse mortgages are used as a home equity conversion mortgage (HECM). This allows a qualified homeowner to receive monthly cash disbursements by liquidating the equity they’ve built up in their home.

How to qualify for an FHA loan

Getting prequalified for an HOA loan is a simple and quick process, and can even be done over the phone. Your loan officer will require information about your basic finances, such as debt, income, and assets.  After running these numbers and evaluating them, he/she can tell you an amount you may qualify to borrow. To be eligible for an FHA loan, borrowers must meet the following lending criteria:

  • A FICO score of 500 to 579 with 10 percent down or a FICO score of 580 or higher with 3.5 percent down.
  • Verifiable employment history for the last two years.
  • Income is verifiable through pay stubs, federal tax returns, and bank statements.
  • The loan is used for a primary residence.
  • The property is appraised by an FHA-approved appraiser and meets HUD property guidelines.
  • Your front-end debt ratio (monthly mortgage payments) should not exceed 31% of your gross monthly income.
  • Your back-end debt ratio (mortgage, plus all monthly debt payments) should not exceed 43% of your gross monthly income. (Lenders may allow a ratio of up to 50% in some cases).
  • If you’ve had a bankruptcy, you will need to wait 12 months to two years to apply, or three years after a foreclosure. (Lenders may make exceptions on waiting periods for borrowers with extenuating circumstances).

Your credit score

The minimum credit score for an FHA loan is 500. If your score falls between 500 and 579, you can still qualify for an FHA loan, but you’ll need to make a larger down payment. Again, these are FHA guidelines — individual lenders can opt to require a higher minimum credit score.

Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI)

The FHA requires a DTI of less than 50, meaning that your total monthly debt payments can’t be more than 50% of your pretax income. This includes debts that you aren’t actively paying off.

FHA closing costs

FHA closing costs include the mortgage insurance (MIP), lender and third-party fees, and prepaid items that are due when signing your mortgage paperwork. Here’s the breakdown:

  • FHA mortgage insurance premium (MIP) totals 1.75% of your loan amount, due at closing. You can also finance this charge as a part of your loan. You’ll also find that an additional ongoing FHA MIP of 0.45% to 1.05% is built into your monthly payment. While the rate remains the same for the life of the loan, the premium is adjusted annually based on the remaining principal loan balance.
  • Lender fees typically include an origination fee, underwriting fee, document preparation fee, supplemental loan origination fee (for FHA 203(k) renovation loans only), and interest rate lock fee.
  • You may also decide to buy discount points (a prepaid interest that lowers your loan’s interest rate), which will be listed as a lender fee.
  • Third-party fees include fees for services offered by other providers and could include Title insurance policy premium (for the lender and an option for the buyer to purchase as well), notary fee, credit report fee, Recording fees, appraisal fee, courier fee, attorney fees, and flood certification fee.
  • Prepaid items are fees that are paid in advance, with some shared between buyer and sellers such as tax and insurance escrow deposit, flood and hazard insurance premiums, real estate taxes, and per diem interest.

In summary 

Whether an FHA loan vs a conventional loan is the better choice, when buying a home in Oakland County MI, really depends on the situation as each borrower, financial situation, and home are different. Likewise, each loan has its benefits. An FHA loan is more flexible to obtain, but no matter how large your down payment, you will have to pay mortgage insurance. Whereas, a conventional loan requires a higher credit score and more money down, but doesn’t have as many provisions. You’ll want to speak with your mortgage professional to discuss which loan makes more sense for your individual financial situation and needs.

Partner with award-winning Oakland County MI REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam   

Tom Gilliam is proud to be a trusted REALTOR® in Oakland MI for the past 20 years – offering his guidance and expertise to both 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, he will protect your interests, advocate for you, negotiate on your behalf, and guide you towards a smooth and successful transaction.   

Whether you are ready to buy a home in Oakland County MI or its time to list your your current property, feel free to reach out to Tom directly at (248) 790-5594 or you can get in touch with him by email.

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 Loan Programs and Tips For Low-Income Oakland County MI Buyers

Home Loan Programs and Tips For Low-Income Oakland County MI Buyers

Home Loan Programs and Tips For Low-Income Oakland County MI Buyers

Owning your own home is the American dream and being in a lower income bracket doesn’t automatically disqualify you from buying a home. Fortunately, there are a number of low-income home loans available to help you reach your goal of homeownership.

Depending on other important factors such as your credit score, debt, location, and profession, you may be able to qualify for a home loan through one of the following programs: FHA loans, USDA loans, Fannie Mae HomeReady loans, Freddie Mac Home Possible® loans, Good Neighbor Next Door program, and VA loans. 

Before we take a closer look at the eligibility requirements of these different loan programs, here are a few tips for buying a home with low income:

The first thing you’ll want to do is review your credit reports from all three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and Transunion)  and dispute any errors you may find. Make a concerted effort to pay all of your accounts on time and lower your credit usage to below 30% of your available limit. This can help improve your credit score before applying for a mortgage.

You should also try to pay down your outstanding debt (especially credit card balances) which will help lower your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. Next, you’ll want to get a mortgage pre-approval. When house hunting, sellers are likely to take you seriously if you’ve already been pre-approved when you put in a purchase offer. A pre-approval tells you how much a lender might be willing to lend you, based on a review of your overall financial picture.

After you get a mortgage pre-approval, the next step is to enlist the services of a qualified Oakland County MI real estate agent. Find an agent who is knowledgeable about the local housing market as well as the different home buying programs that are available for low-income borrowers.

Once you’ve found an agent you can work with, start looking at home buying assistance programs. Check with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) for available homebuying assistance programs, including grants or loans to help cover your down payment or closing costs.

Low-income home loan programs

FHA loans

FHA home loans are loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).  An FHA loan can be a good option for first-time homebuyers who may not qualify for a conventional loan or for those who may be struggling to save a 20% down payment. With an FHA loan, a borrower can have a credit rating as low as 500 and a fairly high debt-to-income ratio.

These loans require only a 3.5% down payment, which can come from gifts, and have less stringent requirements for credit rating or income. FHA loans require all borrowers to pay upfront and annual mortgage insurance premiums, no matter their credit score or down payment amount. Borrowers putting the minimum 3.5% down will pay FHA mortgage insurance for the life of the loan.

Eligibility requirements for FHA loans:

  • A 500 to 579 credit score and a minimum 10% down payment
  • A 580 credit score and a minimum 3.5% down payment
  • Meet local county FHA loan limits. Oakland County, MI FHA loan limits range from $331,760 for 1 living-unit home to $638,100 for 4 living-units.  

USDA loans

The U.S. Department of Agriculture also ensures low-income home loans provided by approved lenders up to 90% of the loan amount. USDA loans cater to homebuyers with a modest income. With a USDA loan, no down payment is required, no assets needed to qualify, and no maximum loan amount. 

Eligibility requirements for USDA loans:

  • Preferred 640 credit score
  • Meet local income eligibility requirements. For a family of 1-4 in Michigan, the average household income limit for a USDA loan is around $86,850, and for a family of 5 or more, it can be as high as $143,300.
  • Purchase a home in a designated rural area

Fannie Mae HomeReady® loans

The HomeReady mortgage program from Fannie Mae offers low-income home loans to homebuyers with limited cash for a down payment. Underwriting guidelines are more flexible to make it easier to qualify and both first-time homebuyers and repeat buyers are eligible. If all borrowers on the loan are first-time buyers, at least one borrower must meet the homeownership education requirement, by completing an online course on the Framework website.

Eligibility requirements for Fannie Mae HomeReady® loans:

  • Minimum 620 credit score
  • Minimum 3% down payment
  • Earn a maximum of 80% of the area median income (AMI)

Freddie Mac Home Possible® loans

The Freddie Mac Home Possible® mortgage program also caters to very low-to low-income borrowers with limited down payment funds. Both first-time and repeat homebuyers may qualify. Co-borrowers who do not live in the home can be included for a borrower’s one-unit residence, and borrowers are permitted to have another financed property –  all with competitive pricing and the ease of a conventional mortgage. 1-4 units, condos and planned-unit developments, and manufactured homes are eligible with certain restrictions.  

Eligibility requirements for Freddie Mac Home Possible® loans:

  • Minimum 660 credit score
  • Minimum 3% down payment
  • An income less than or equal to 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI)

HUD’s Good Neighbor Next Door program

With the Good Neighbor Next Door program from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), law enforcement officers, teachers (pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade) firefighters, and emergency medical technicians can contribute to community revitalization while becoming homeowners. HUD offers a discount of 50% from the list price of the home.

In return, an eligible buyer must commit to live in the property for 36 months as his/her principal residence. If an FHA loan is used to buy the home under this program, the minimum required down payment is $100. You can also use a conventional or VA loan.

Eligibility requirements for HUD’s Good Neighbor Next Door program: 

  • Work full-time as a pre-K through 12th-grade educator, emergency medical technician, firefighter, or law enforcement officer
  • Buy a home in a HUD-designated revitalization area
  • Must live in the home for at least 36 months (3 years)

VA loans

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a mortgage program to help veterans, service members, and surviving spouses purchase homes. The VA is not a direct mortgage lender, but it does guarantee a portion of the loan so borrowers can receive more favorable loan terms like a lower interest rate. 

If your VA-backed home loan goes into foreclosure, the guaranty allows the lender to recover some or all of their losses. Since there’s less risk for the lender, they’re more likely to give you the loan under better terms.  90% of all VA-backed home loans are made without a down payment. 

There is no minimum required down payment or mortgage insurance requirement. These loans also limit the amount you can be charged for closing costs. There are no VA loan limits  

Eligibility requirements for VA loans:

  • Valid Certificate of Eligibility
  • Preferred minimum 620 credit score
  • Required VA funding fee to offset program costs to taxpayers

Partner with highly-rated Oakland County MI REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam   

Award-winning Oakland County MI REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam provides the kind of knowledge, skills, dedication, and professionalism you need when buying or selling a home. 

With over 20 years of real estate experience, Tom will protect your interests, advocate for you, negotiate on your behalf, and be your trusted guide and advisor every step of the way. Tom works very hard for his clients and will always 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 real estate in Oakland County MI, please give 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 

Interested in Purchasing a Foreclosed Home in Oakland County MI?

Interested in Purchasing a Foreclosed Home in Oakland County MI?

Interested in Purchasing a Foreclosed Home in Oakland County MI?

Real estate bargain hunters can find great deals on foreclosures and foreclosed homes in Oakland County MI. The biggest selling point of foreclosed homes is, of course, their marked-down price, which is often significantly lower from other similar properties in the same area, also known as “comparables ” or “comps” in real estate speak. 

Foreclosed homes are available in just about every real estate market across the country, providing opportunities for homeowners and investors alike. Most foreclosures are sold at a sizable discount below market value. Buyers may also take advantage of additional savings such as reduced down payments, lower interest rates, or the elimination of appraisal fees and certain closing costs. 

A REALTOR® for foreclosed homes in Oakland County MI will often know about properties that are nearing foreclosure because they are familiar with the local market, actively network with other agents, and frequently works directly with banks and other lenders.

With access to comprehensive foreclosure listings that include homes already in foreclosure as well as those approaching it, your agent can help you uncover a great deal on a home that you might not find otherwise.  

Locating foreclosures and foreclosed homes in Oakland County MI

One can find foreclosed properties in multiple-listing service (MLS) periodicals and websites, via online real estate searches, bank offices and websites, and through local newspapers. Lenders are increasingly selling their seized assets through real estate agents, so don’t hesitate to ask an Oakland County MI REALTOR® for opportunities.

Some real estate pros even specialize in foreclosure properties, which are often sold well under market value because the owners are eager to unload them.  

Locating foreclosures and foreclosed homes in Oakland County MI greatly depends on what stage the property is in during the foreclosure process. Properties can still be owned by the original homeowner or by an entity such as a bank or the government.

Stages of Foreclosure

Here are the various stages of foreclosure:

1). Pre-foreclosures – A home is in pre-foreclosure after the lender has notified the borrowers that they are in default but before the property is offered for sale at auction. If the homeowner can sell their home during this time, they may be able to avoid foreclosure proceedings. As a result, some homeowners are willing to negotiate. Your agent can help locate those properties that are still in the pre-foreclosure phase. 

2). Short sales – Short sales occur when the lender will accept less for the property than what is owed on the mortgage. Although borrowers don’t necessarily need to be in default of their mortgage for a lender to agree to a short sale, they typically need to prove that they are in fact experiencing financial hardship, such as the loss of a job, which is likely to result in default. Often, the property is worth less than the outstanding balance on the mortgage. 

In order to qualify as a short sale, the lender must agree to accept less than is owed, and the property must be listed as a short sale. A successful short sale helps the lender avoid yet one more foreclosed home on their books as well as the cost and time associated with maintaining that home until its potential sale. Also with a short sale, the likelihood that the borrower/ homeowner will trash the property on his way out the door is reduced.

3). Sheriff’s sale auctions – happens after the lender has notified the borrower of default and allowed a grace period for the borrower to catch up on mortgage payments. An auction is designed for the lender to get repaid quickly for the loan that is in default. Auctions often occur on the steps of a city’s courthouse and managed by the local law enforcement authorities. 

The property is auctioned to the highest bidder at a publicly announced place, date, and time. The large cash outlay required to buy foreclosed property at the Sheriff’s Sale is the biggest deterrent for many buyers. Certified checks and sometimes cash will be required to bid on properties. In addition, you may not be able to inspect a foreclosed property before bidding on it. 

4). REO properties – Properties that don’t sell at auction revert back to the bank or become real estate owned (REO) properties. Cathy has access to extensive listings of such bank-owned properties. REOs are generally purchased “as is,” but buyers can negotiate with the lender to pay for any repairs. 

The option for a home inspection makes REO properties especially attractive to investors because they review the current condition of the property, including any repairs that will need to be made. With short sales or bank-owned (REO) properties, you can finance the purchase with a mortgage. In fact, it’s common to do so.

5). Government-owned properties –  Government foreclosures are residential properties that have been repossessed and put up for sale by a government agency. Several government agencies such as the Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD), the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), the Veteran’s Affairs Department (VA) offer mortgages at special rates for qualified borrowers. 

When a homeowner defaults on their mortgage, these agencies will repossess their property and sell it to recoup money lost on the unpaid loan. Other reasons government properties are sold include homes seized and sold by the IRS due to tax debts and property seized and sold by Homeland Security due to criminal activity. Typically, a government-registered broker must be contacted to purchase a government-owned property.   

Potential pitfalls when buying a foreclosed home in Oakland County MI 

There are some standard difficulties you may encounter when purchasing an Oakland County MI foreclosed home. While foreclosures can be great investments as fixer-uppers, either to live in or resell, these properties will typically come with issues, and the financial rewards of buying one only come after a significant amount of hard work. 

Bank-owned properties are sometimes very dirty because of the amount of time sitting empty,  neglect by the previous owner, or vagrant occupancy. A Home that has been sitting locked up with no air circulating for months can have built-up dirt that causes the entire home to smell. 

Many properties in foreclosure have been poorly maintained and may have water or mold damage, structural issues, or be in violation of codes or other standards. A small leak under the kitchen sink can lead to a mold problem, and a roof leak or burst pipe can lead to major water damage when there is no one in the home to fix it. 

Banks are unlikely to have any knowledge of existing problems with the property since one there has lived in the home. That means you will have to uncover everything yourself, either during the home inspection or through experience after you become the homeowner.  

Vandalism such as graffiti, broken windows, and other damage can also be an issue. After the occupants leave, foreclosures sit abandoned, often inviting criminal activity. Even the prior owners may take fixtures, appliances, windows, crown molding, or anything else of value from the home.

Despite all of the above potential problems, a foreclosed home in Oakland County MI can still be a good deal. If you are up for fixing problems that most people don’t want to deal with, you can purchase a home at a significant discount. 

Financing options for Oakland County MI foreclosed homes and lenders

Buyers should do some research on financing options before shopping for Oakland County MI foreclosed homes. Although you can go the traditional route of using a private lender as you would for a conventional home, some lenders are reluctant to finance a foreclosed home, making the purchase with all cash your only option.

Lenders will typically not give a home buyer money for a home they consider uninhabitable or that appraises below the purchase price. Of course, if you are paying cash, this will not be an issue. If you are not in the position to pay all cash, It’s worth looking into loans from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or Freddie Mac.

The HUD Section 203(k) loan program can help in some circumstances. The total amount of your mortgage is based on the projected value of the home after the renovation is completed while also taking into account the cost of the work.  

Keep in mind that when purchasing a foreclosure, negotiating with a bank is very different than negotiating with an individual. A real estate agent who has worked with banks before understands the bank’s processes and can anticipate the bank’s needs to make the transaction go smoother.

Even if you’ve purchased a foreclosure before, it’s still to your advantage to enlist the services of a qualified agent as each bank has its own procedures and timelines. Working with someone who can help navigate the nuances can alleviate a lot of stress. 

Partner with highly-rated Oakland County MI REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam   

Buyers have the opportunity to pay below market value for homes that wouldn’t be available to them under normal circumstances. If done responsibly, and with the guidance of a reputable real estate agent, purchasing a foreclosed home can allow a homebuyer to reap a myriad of benefits.

Inexperienced foreclosure buyers might want to hire a real estate agent for guidance and assistance. Agents have direct access to tools like the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which they use to share information about properties. 

Oakland County MI REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam has over 20 years of local experience and provides the kind of knowledge, skills, commitment, and professionalism you need when buying or selling a home. As your agent, Tom will protect your interests, advocate for you, negotiate on your behalf, and be your trusted guide and advisor every step of the way.

If you or someone you know is interested in purchasing foreclosed homes in Oakland County MI, please give 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  

First-time Homebuyers: Can I Still Buy a House in Oakland County MI During Covid-19?

First-time Homebuyers: Can I Still Buy a House in Oakland County MI During Covid-19?

First-time Homebuyers: Can I Still Buy a House in Oakland County MI During Covid-19? – If you are a first-time homebuyer and were in the market to buy a home in Oakland County prior to the COVID-19 crisis, the situation has more than likely affected your original gameplan.

It’s one thing to have never bought a house before and be in unfamiliar territory. Throw in a pandemic and the situation is now moved into deeper uncharted waters, even for the most seasoned buyer.

The COVID-19 situation has derailed millions of folk’s financial plans including buying property. But it doesn’t have to be that way. 

If you were still hoping to purchase a home soon, you probably have a lot of questions like whether it’s even possible to buy a home now or tour a house, or how the pandemic has impacted home prices, and more.

The good news is that many people are still buying houses during this unprecedented time, even though things are a bit different than they were before the coronavirus changed the home buying/selling landscape.

As a first-time homebuyer during the coronavirus, here are a few things to know:  

Can You Still Buy a House Now? 

The answer is yes. Although buying a house today may be more challenging due to health and economic concerns, it is definitely possible. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has declared that residential and commercial real estate services are an essential service.

Search the MLS for Oakland County MI Homes for Sale

If you find a home that seems right for you, have job stability and can get financing at historically low rates, buying property might be a wise choice and the right thing to do – even now.   

You Can Still Shop for a House

You can still shop for a house, but the rules for viewing a property are going to different than before COVID-19. Buyers, sellers, REALTORS, and brokers are coming up with different ways to see and show homes.

Some areas, however, have put a pause order on in-person showings all together. There are also some sellers that might be fine with you touring their house, while others might not be comfortable letting strangers in their home, even if property tours are allowed in your area.

Aside from federal and local restrictions, a lot will depend on the home sellers’ comfort levels. You can also work with an agent and have a virtual showing, where the agent walks through the property with you on Zoom, FaceTime, or some other video conferencing format.

A local real estate agent will know what buyers can and can’t do in your area, so its best to consult an agent for the most accurate, up-to-date information.  

You May Need To Get Your Pre-approval Updated

While the process of getting preapproved for a loan hasn’t changed, as most buyers today do an online preapproval application, the preapproval itself has changed post-coronavirus.

Mortgage lenders are battling economic uncertainty by raising minimum credit scores, requiring higher down payments, triple-checking employment status, and even eliminating certain loan types altogether. 

As some lenders increase their standards (overlays), your price range might change because your approved loan amount is lower, or you may no longer qualify for a loan at all.   

You May or May Not be able to Get an Inspection

Once the house goes under contract, closing is different in today’s world. You’ll still be able to get an appraisal under current regulations, but depending on whether real estate is considered essential in your area, you may not be able to get an inspection.  

If you are able to get an inspection, most likely you and your agent will not be able to attend.  A number of home inspectors are now using live video chatting apps like FaceTime or Zoom to let home buyers tag along remotely. This keeps buyers at a safe distance for home inspections. 

More Buyers Are Doing eClosings

Digital real estate closings or eClosings, give buyers and sellers the ability to sign settlement documents electronically—meaning parties don’t have to meet in a room to close the deal.

Most eClosings are orchestrated by title agents, who often lead individuals through the required paperwork by video conferencing. Most states are now offering electronic notarizations. This map from settlement software company PropLogix shows what states allow digital closings. 

Partner with Top-rated Oakland County MI REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam

 2020 Best of Farmington Hills REALTOR - Tom GilliamWhether you are looking for homes for sale in Oakland County MI or you are ready to list your current property, experience matters most in a changing market.

With over 25 years of local experience, Tom provides the kind of knowledge, skills, dedication, and personalized service you need and deserve.

As your personal agent, Tom will protect your interests, advocate for you, and go above and beyond to ensure a smooth and successful transaction.

If you or someone you know is interested in buying or selling Oakland County MI real estate, please give Tom 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
Call: 248-790-5594
Office: 248-737-6800
Email: Tom @ Homes2MoveYou.com
License #301741

Why Homebuyers Need A Qualified Oakland County MI REALTOR®

Why Homebuyers Need A Qualified Oakland County MI REALTOR®

A qualified Oakland County MI REALTOR® holds the key to uncovering the most valuable properties, negotiating the best terms and price and facilitating a smooth and successful transaction. Tom Gilliam is a top producing real estate agent in Oakland County MI with over 20 years of experience assisting buyers and sellers with their real estate goals.

Whether you’re looking to upsize, downsize or planning to relocate to Oakland County from another part of the metro Detroit area or beyond, you will need to a qualified agent who can help you navigate the local market and find the perfect home for your lifestyle and needs. Tom knows the Oakland County housing market inside and out and can provide you with detailed, accurate information that goes well beyond what’s listed on the MLS. 

Tom can inform you about the different cities and neighborhoods in Oakland County, the types of homes and features offered, the builders, nearby schools, commute times, local area amenities, property values, current market trends, and so much more. Tom stays on top of the local market at all times and is always the first to know when new inventory becomes available, ensuring that his buyers have access to the best homes and securing an offer. 

To ensure that you get the most value for your money, Tom will evaluate the prices of homes currently on the market and those that have sold in recent months to determine whether the seller’s asking price is in line with market data. He keeps his finger on the pulse of the local economy, business developments, community trends, and other factors that can affect the market value of property in the area.  

When you partner with Tom, you can be assured that you’ll receive the most accurate, reliable, and trustworthy information  as you make one of the most important financial and personal decisions in your lifetime.  Get started on finding your dream home today by calling Tom directly at (248) 790-5594 or you can get in touch with him here!

On our easy-to-use website, you’ll be able to search the MLS for the most up-to-date listings for Oakland County MI homes for sale. You can save your search, create a free account, and receive email alerts of new listings that match your home criteria delivered directly to your email.

Search All Oakland County Michigan Homes for sale 

$25,000,000
Land For Sale
Active
34.94
ACRES
BENZIE
COUNTY
1300 Furnace Street
Elberta Vlg-Gilmore Twp, MI 49628
 
$14,995,000
Commercial For Sale
Active
30,000
SQFT
1250 Library Street
Detroit, MI 48226
 
$13,474,217
Land For Sale
Active
138.2
ACRES
MACOMB
COUNTY
26 Mile
Shelby Twp, MI 48316
 
$12,300,000
Land For Sale
Active
205
ACRES
WAYNE
COUNTY
50155 Bemis Road
Sumpter Twp, MI 48111
 
New Listing - 4 weeks online
$11,000,000
Commercial For Sale
Active
56,000
SQFT
4240 Cass Avenue
Detroit, MI 48201
 
$10,730,400
Land For Sale
Active
134.15
ACRES
MONROE
COUNTY
Cabela Blvd
Dundee, MI 48131
 
$10,550,000
Single Family Home For Sale
Active
6
BEDS
10
TOTAL BATHS
15,123
SQFT
2756 Turtle Bluff Drive
Bloomfield Twp, MI 48302
Turtle Lake Condo Subdivision

If you would like to schedule a private showing or would like more information about any of the Oakland County Michigan home listings above, please contact Oakland MI REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam today!

PARTNER with the Most Qualified Oakland MI REALTOR® – TOM GILLIAM

Tom Gilliam - Oakland County MI REALTORThe real estate market is always changing, but Tom’s commitment to exceptional, personalized service is unwavering. As a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, Tom adheres to a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice and possesses a strong work ethic. He will always take the time to listen to your needs and concerns, keep you updated every step-of-the-way, and will do whatever is necessary to facilitate a smooth and successful transaction.  

If you’re looking to sell your home in Oakland County, Tom incorporates the most effective and cutting-edge marketing approaches for getting your home in front of as many potential buyers as possible. If your home isn’t on the key real estate websites, it will be invisible.

When you partner with Tom, your property will be listed in hundreds of locations all around the Internet and will get exposure on all the major sites such as Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, Movato.com, Homes.com, and other many other sites that homebuyers frequently visit. 

You can be assured that Tom is 100% committed to getting your home SOLD for the highest market price in the least amount of time possible. He is an expert negotiator and will work hard to protect your investment by making sure that no money is left on the table.  

With Tom as your personal agent, you’ll have the most qualified Oakland County MI REALTOR® by your side who will protect your interests, advocate for you, and handle all the details of your home purchase or sale for a smooth and successful transaction. Tom genuinely cares about the people he works with and is always accessible to his clients – his phone never goes unanswered. 

To find out more about buying or selling Oakland County MI real estate, Please call top Oakland County MI REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam today at (248) 790-5594 or you can get in touch with him here!

Tom Gilliam, REALTOR®
RE/MAX Classic
29630 Orchard Lake Rd.
Farmington Hills 48334
Call: 248-790-5594
Office: 248-737-6800
Email: [email protected]
License #301741

Why South Lyon MI Homes for Sale Deserve Consideration

Why South Lyon MI Homes for Sale Deserve Consideration

If you are currently seeking a tight-knit, family-friendly community offering a small-town vibe for your next home, South Lyon MI homes for sale deserve consideration. The quaint city of South Lyon is located in the southwest corner of Oakland County, Michigan and is home to approximately 11,408 people. Situated near the crossroads of Interstate 96 and US 23, South Lyon is just 19 miles north of Ann Arbor, 45 miles west of Detroit and 58 miles east of Lansing, the capital of Michigan.

At just 3.5 square miles in size, the city is known for its historic and charming downtown, annual festivals, beautiful parks, and excellent schools – offering unparalleled quality of life and a great place to raise a family!

A qualified agent holds the key to finding the most valuable homes for sale in South Lyon,  negotiating the best terms and price, and facilitating a smooth and successful transaction. Tom Gilliam is a top REALTOR® in South Lyon with over 20 years of experience helping families find and get into the home of their dreams.

Tom’s knowledge and professionalism and his expertise in the local market will give you the assurance you need for making the best home purchase decision. Get started today by calling Tom directly at (248) 790-5594 or you can get in touch with him here!

Search the MLS for the most accurate and up-to-date listings for South Lyon MI homes for sale below. You can save your search, create a free account, and receive email alerts of new listings that match your home criteria delivered directly to your email. Also, be sure to scroll down below to learn more about South Lyon MI real estate and living in this charming community:

Browse South Lyon MI Homes for Sale

New Listing - 2 weeks online
$849,900
Single Family Home For Sale
Active
4
BEDS
4
TOTAL BATHS
3,490
SQFT
23763 Point O Woods Court
South Lyon, MI 48178
Tanglewood-Pointe O'Woods Sub Subdivision
Price Change - 2 weeks ago
$599,995
Single Family Home For Sale
Active
2
BEDS
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,980
SQFT
57949 Stoneleigh Drive
South Lyon, MI 48178
 
Price Change - 4 weeks ago
$599,995
Single Family Home For Sale
Active
2
BEDS
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,929
SQFT
23944 Lyon Preserve Trail
South Lyon, MI 48178
 
$563,995
Single Family Home For Sale
Active
3
BEDS
3
TOTAL BATHS
2,428
SQFT
24057 Lyon Preserve Trail
South Lyon, MI 48178
 
$526,995
Single Family Home For Sale
Active
2
BEDS
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,819
SQFT
24065 Lyon Preserve Trail
South Lyon, MI 48178
 
$516,995
Single Family Home For Sale
Active
2
BEDS
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,998
SQFT
24019 Lyon Preserve Trail
South Lyon, MI 48178
 
$516,995
Single Family Home For Sale
Active
2
BEDS
2
TOTAL BATHS
1,871
SQFT
24031 Lyon Preserve Trail
South Lyon, MI 48178
 
New Listing - 5 days online
$499,999
Single Family Home For Sale
Active
4
BEDS
4
TOTAL BATHS
2,767
SQFT
1339 Buckboard Circle
South Lyon, MI 48178
Carriage Trace Condo Subdivision

If you would like to schedule a private showing or would like more information about any of the above South Lyon MI real estate listings, please contact top REALTOR® in South Lyon, Tom Gilliam, today!

More About South Lyon Mi Real Estate  

Buyers will find a wide range of homes for sale in South Lyon from townhomes and condos to single-family homes and luxury homes with plenty of privacy and extras.  With so many residential options, your sure to find the perfect home for your family’s lifestyle and needs.

Neighborhoods and subdivisions in South Lyon include:  Oakmonte Estates at Mill River, Trotters Pointe, Andover Creek, Arbors of Lyon, Brookwood Village, Carriage Club, Carriage Trace, Cedar Ridge, Charleston Park, Colonial Acres, Copperwood, Eagle Heights, Evergreen Court, Fountain View, Glen Meadows, Greenock Hills, Hidden Creek, Hornbrook Estates, Knightsbridge Gate South Lyon. Lexington Place, Lovewell Park, Maple Creek, Nichwagh Lake Estates, Nichwagh Ridge, Orchards of Lyon, Pinehurst, Saddle Creek, Southridge, Stoneleigh, Stoneridge, Trailside at Mill River, Turnberry Park Estates,Twin Pines, Village at Eagle Heights, Villas at Crystal Creek, Walnut Creek Estates, Woodwind Glen, and Woodwind Village.  

The median price of currently listed South Lyon MI homes for sale is $399,800  Approximately 70% of South Lyon homes are owned compared to 21% rented. As a licensed, professional real estate agent, Tom Gilliam understands the importance of staying on top of the local market and always the first to know when new listings in South Lyon become available, ensuring that his buyers have access to the best homes and securing an offer.

Tom will evaluate the prices of homes that are currently on the market and those that have sold in recent months to determine whether a seller’s asking price is in line with market data. He keeps his finger on the pulse of the local economy, community trends, business developments and other factors that can affect the market value of properties in the area to ensure that you get the most value for your money, 

Tom’s in-depth knowledge of the local area is something that his buyers quickly come to appreciate. He can help educate you about the different South Lyon neighborhoods and subdivisions, the types of homes and features offered, the builders, nearby schools, area amenities, and so much more. Allow Tom to streamline your home search by putting together a list available homes for sale in South Lyon MI that best match for your wants and needs. 

Request customized search results delivered directly to your email along with email alerts of all new listings. You can get the home search process started today by calling Tom directly at (248) 790-5594 or you can get in touch with him here!

MORE ABOUT LIVING IN South Lyon MI

Originally established as an agricultural center built around two railroads and incorporated as a city in 1930, South Lyon is becoming a center for manufacturing, with 70 acres of light industrial properties located within the city limits. The center of the business district is at Ten Mile Road and Pontiac Trail, known as Lake Street and Lafayette Street within the City.  

Welcome to Downtown South Lyon!

Twelve walkable blocks filled with salons, shops, and fabulous dining located at the intersection of Lake & Lafayette streets. Downtown South Lyon is a traditional hometown shopping and dining experience with over 100 stores, restaurants, and services including the famous South Lyon Hotel.

South Lyon has over 200 acres of parkland including McHattie Park, Volunteer Park mi, Paul Baker Memorial Park (Fountain Park), Andover Park, Columbia Park, and the Huron Valley Rail Trail. Located in the center of town, the 15 acre McHattie Park features a children’s playground, little league ball diamonds, sand volleyball courts, a sledding hill, and plenty of open space for picnicking and outdoor fun. 

McHattie Park is also home to the historic Witch’s Hat Depot Museum, Little Village Chapel, the Freight House, and the Victorian Gazebo. Volunteer Park is home to the majority of the city’s sports facilities and features baseball diamonds, soccer fields, a sand volleyball court, and a multi-use trail. The smaller Paul Baker Memorial Park features a beautiful fountain and gazebo.

The popular, annual Pumpkinfest is the largest festival in South Lyon which is held during the last weekend of September. Events along Main Street include inflatable rides, games, carnival food, live entertainment, parade, arts & crafts show,  5k run through town, and much more.  

For parents with school-age children, homes for sale in South Lyon MI are served by South Lyon Community Schools, an accredited public school district in Oakland County. The District serves  Lyon Township, the City of South Lyon, Green Oak, and Salem Township, as well as portions of  Novi. Elementary schools include Salem, Sayre, Bartlett, Dolsen, Hardy, Kent Lake, Brummer, and Pearson Elementary.

There are two middle schools:  Millennium Middle and Centennial Middle and two high schools: South Lyon High, and South Lyon East High School For higher education, Schoolcraft College, Washtenaw Community College, and Oakland Community College, are all located within 16 miles of South Lyon.

There are two major airports serving South Lyon: Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport has international and domestic flights from Detroit, located about 41 miles from the center of town; Bishop International Airport has domestic flights from Flint, Michigan and is 42 miles from South Lyon.

WORK WITH THE BEST REALTOR® IN South Lyon – TOM GILLIAM

Serving the local community fo rover 20 years, Tom  Gilliam provides the kind of knowledge, expertise, and personalized service you need and deserve. He will take the time to listen to your needs and concerns, keep you updated every step-of-the-way, and will always have your best interests in mind. Toms foremost goal is to exceed your expectations!

Whether you’re interested MI homes for sale or it’s time to list your current property, experience matters most in a changing market. One of the things that Tom appreciates most about being at top South Lyon REALTOR® is being able to share the joy that his clients feel when they find the home of their dreams. 

For sellers, Tom is 100% committed to getting your home SOLD for top dollar in the least amount of time possible. Tom incorporates the most effective and cutting-edge approaches to marketing your home and getting it in front of as many buyers as possible. Your property will be listed in hundreds of locations all around the Internet and will get exposure on all the major sites like Zillow, Movato.com, Trulia, Redfin, Homes.com  and many other sites that are frequently used by buyers.

As your personal agent, Tom will protect your interests, advocate for you, and skillfully handle all the details of your home purchase or sale for a smooth and successful transaction. To find out more about buying or selling Rochester MI real estate, please give Tom Gilliam a call today at (248) 790-5594 or send him an email.

TOM GILLIAM
RE/MAX Classic
29630 Orchard Lake Rd.
Farmington Hills 48334
Direct: 248-790-5594
Office: 248-737-6800
[email protected]
License #301741

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