Planning on Buying a Home in Farmington Hills MI? Things You Can Do Now To Prepare 

Planning on Buying a Home in Farmington Hills MI? Things You Can Do Now To Prepare 

Planning on Buying a Home in Farmington Hills MI? Things You Can Do Now To Prepare  – Buying a home in Farmington Hills MI is a major accomplishment. It’s an opportunity to put down roots and build equity. That being said, the housing market has become more competitive, with national inventory down almost 30 percent. This is especially true when it comes to mid-priced, affordable houses. So, the sooner you start preparing to buy a house, the easier it will be to beat the competition. 

If you are in the early stages of buying a home, here are a few important steps you can take right now to prepare:

Check Your Credit

Once you have made the decision to buy a home in Farmington Hills MI, the first step is to request a credit report from all three credit reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax). Your credit will determine whether or not you are eligible for a mortgage and also influences your mortgage rate. 

Most mortgage programs require a minimum credit score of 580 – 620. You will want to also check your report for accuracy and dispute any errors, especially negative errors that decrease your score A free copy of your credit report from each of the credit reporting agencies is available every 12 months from AnnualCreditReport.com.  

Figure Out Your Debt-to-Income (DTI)

Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) plays a big role in whether you are able to qualify for a mortgage. It’s the percentage of your income that goes toward paying your monthly debts and helps lenders decide how much you can afford to borrow. DTI is as important as your credit score and job stability, if not more so. 

Most lenders prefer a DTI that’s no higher than 36%, depending on the mortgage program. DTI sometimes leaves out monthly expenses such as food, utilities, transportation costs, and health insurance, among other items. Lenders may not consider these expenses and may approve you to borrow more than you’re comfortable paying. So keep these additional obligations in mind as you evaluate how much you’re willing to pay each month.

You can improve your DTI by paying off as much debt as possible (credit cards, car loans, student loans, and other loans) before applying for a mortgage. Some lenders will allow a higher DTI, but only when a borrower has “compensating factors” such as a high credit score or a large cash reserve.  You don’t have to be debt-free to buy a home, but the less debt you have can mean more purchasing power.

Determine Your Budget

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of buying a home before asking yourself the most important question, “How much house can I afford? Before meeting with a mortgage lender, use one of the many online mortgage calculators to estimate affordability. For example, let’s say that your total monthly take-home pay is $5,000.

Multiply it by 25% to get your maximum mortgage payment. If you earn $5,000 a month, that means your monthly house payment should be no more than $1,250. Sticking with an income of $5,000 a month, you could afford the options below on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage: 

  • $187,767 home with a 10% down payment ($18,777)
  • $211,238 home with a 20% down payment ($42,248)
  • $241,415 home with a 30% down payment ($72,424)
  • $281,650 home with a 40% down payment ($112,660)

Keep in mind that this is just a ballpark and don’t forget items like property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. Once you know what you are likely to afford, you can then estimate how much to save for your down payment and closing costs.  

Save Money

First, know how much down payment you’ll need. The majority of mortgage programs require a down payment ranging from a minimum of 3% to 5% for a conventional loan, and a minimum of 3.5% for an FHA home loan. So, if you pay $200,000 for a house, you will need a minimum of $6,000 to $10,000 for your down payment. A down payment is not required with VA and USDA loans.   

Typically, you will need to put down at least 20% to avoid paying for private mortgage insurance,  which protects the lender in the event a borrower defaults on the loan. You are also responsible for closing costs, which are an estimated 2% to 5% of the loan amount (or $4,000-$10,000 on a $200K loan).

If you are having trouble saving for a downpayment, every state has first-time home buyer down payment assistance programs (DPAs) as well as tax credits and help with closing costs. These programs are often run by Housing Finance Agencies or through grants issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  

Gift money from relatives or friends can also provide help for downpayment and closing costs. but it must be an outright gift and not a loan. The rules for gift money vary, depending on the loan program. In many cases, there’s no limit on the amount of gift money that can go into a down payment, as long as the buyer is purchasing a primary residence. 

Research Different Loan Programs

Even though your mortgage lender will discuss different home loan programs with you, it is always a good idea to do your own research before meeting with a lender. Once you are ready to buy, the process will be moving fast and you might not feel like you have time to explore financing options. 

No two home buyers are alike, so the best loan program for one buyer is likely unsuitable to another. It’s up to you to ask these and other questions:

  • Which loan has the lowest monthly payment?
  • What option requires the least amount upfront?
  • Which loan type is suitable for my credit score?
  • What will cost me less over time?
  • How does my income affect the products for which I’m eligible?

If you settle for the first loan that your lender offers, you might miss out on lower rates or a more affordable loan program. Knowledge will help you make the most informed choice and get the best loan for your particular situation.   

The Takeaway

Buying your first home in Farmington Hills MI is very exciting, but there’s a lot to think about before you start house hunting. Start by getting all your finances in order, managing your credit score, and comparing mortgage programs. 

Partner with Experienced Farmington Hills MI REALTOR®- Tom Gilliam

2020 Best of Farmington Hills REALTOR - Tom GilliamWhether 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.

With over 20 years of local experience, Farmington Hills REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam is very familiar with the local market and has access to the most up-to-date listings. Known for his professionalism and care for every detail, Tom is also an expert at uncovering the perfect home for his clients’ lifestyle needs in the right neighborhood. 

Search Farmington Hill MI homes for sale

For sellers, 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, and so on.

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

Tom works very hard for his clients. He will protect your interests, advocate for you, and be your trusted guide and advisor throughout the home buying or selling process. If you or someone you know is interested in real estate in Farmington Hills MI, please give Tom Gilliam a call 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

Buying a Home in Oakland County, MI? Low and No Down Payment Mortgage Options

Buying a Home in Oakland County, MI? Low and No Down Payment Mortgage Options

Buying a Home in Oakland County, MI? Low and No-Down-Payment Mortgage Options – You don’t have to be a first-time homebuyer in order to qualify for a low or no down payment mortgage. Some low down payment loans assist buyers in economically disadvantaged areas. VA loans cater to borrowers with military connections and USDA loans are for buyers in rural and suburban areas. Some conventional loans like the Home Possible®loan and the HomeReady™ mortgage have income limits rather than first-time homebuyer requirements. 

A no-down-payment mortgage allows first-time home buyers, and repeat buyers, to purchase a home with no money required at closing except standard closing costs. USDA and VA government-backed loans allow you to purchase a home with zero down. The fact that these loans are backed by the federal government allows lenders to be more lenient with down payment requirements. To qualify for a USDA loan, you and your home must meet USDA loan standards, and to qualify for a VA loan, you must meet service standards.  

If you don’t meet the qualifications for either a USDA loan or a VA loan requiring no down downpayment, you may want to get a low down payment government-backed FHA loan or a conventional mortgage. You can get an FHA loan with as little as 3.5% down. Backed by the Federal Housing Administration, these loans are for people with low to moderate-income levels and have fewer requirements than USDA and VA loans. 

USDA Rural Housing Loans 

The USDA Rural Housing Loan is available to buyers in suburban neighborhoods as well as rural neighborhoods. The USDA’s goal is to reach low-to-moderate income homebuyers wherever they may be. Going one step further in helping prospective homebuyers, the USDA issues mortgages to applicants deemed to have the greatest need. That means an individual or family that is without “decent, safe, and sanitary housing, unable to secure a home loan from traditional sources and has an adjusted income at or below the low-income limit for the area where they live.

The USDA usually issues direct loans for homes of 2,000 square feet or less, with a market value below the area loan limit. Many borrowers using the USDA Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program make a good living and reside in neighborhoods that don’t meet the traditional definition of rural.

VA Loans

A VA loan is a $0 down mortgage option issued by private lenders and partially backed, or guaranteed, by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Eligible borrowers can use a VA loan to purchase a property as their primary residence or refinance an existing mortgage. With a VA loan, eligible homebuyers are not required to have a down payment in most cases.

There is also no monthly mortgage insurance premium to pay. The combination of no down payment and no mortgage insurance can save homebuyers, who qualify for a VA loan, a significant amount of money. VA loans continue to have the lowest average interest rates of all loan types and VA buyers can pay off a loan early without any financial penalties. 

FHA Loans

In order to qualify for an FHA loan, you must plan to live at the property you are purchasing as your primary residence. You must also buy a home that meets livability standards and move in within 60 days of closing. With a down payment of less than 10%, you are also required to pay mortgage insurance throughout the life of the loan. FHA loans are a great option for people with a low down payment and are also a viable option for those with a low credit score.

In order to get an FHA loan combined with a lower down payment, you will need a credit score of at least 580. If your credit score is lower than 580, you’ll have to make up for it with a larger down payment. You may even be able to get a loan with a credit score as low as 500 points if you can bring a 10% down payment to closing.  

Conventional Loans  

In today’s market, conventional loans account for more than half of all mortgage loans made. By contrast, conventional loans are not backed by the government. Conventional loans are backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and these two agencies exist solely to help banks make mortgage loans. They offer no mortgage insurance to lenders, leaving that task to private mortgage insurance (PMI) companies.

If you have low to moderate-income compared to others in your area, you may want to consider a Home Possible®loan from Freddie Mac. With this loan type, you are allowed to purchase a home with a 3% down payment and lower mortgage insurance options. In order to qualify, you can’t earn more than 100% of the median income in your area.

Another 3% down payment option is the HomeReady™ mortgage backed by Fannie Mae. This loan type offers below-market mortgage rates, reduced mortgage insurance costs,  and the income of everybody living in the home can be used to get mortgage-qualified and approved.

The good news is that there is a bevy of mortgage programs requiring little or no money down and they are available to the general public. Want to buy a home in Oakland County, MI with little or no money down? Give top-rated Oakland County MI REALTOR – Tom Gilliam a call today!

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

A top-rated Oakland County MI real estate agent like Tom Gilliam can show you more properties and save you thousands of dollars when buying a home. You need an agent who knows the area, processes a vast network of local connections, and has the skills to negotiate like a pro. From first-time homebuyers to multi-million dollar investors, Tom continually strives to provide top quality service for his clients. With access to the most up-to-date MLS listings for Oakland county MI properties, Tom is able to match your lifestyle needs with the perfect home.

If you are ready to list your current property, Tom has the experience and skills necessary to handle the sale and marketing of your home for the optimum results. Tom employs the latest technology to deliver massive exposure that will drive mega-response from qualified buyers. Tom also partners with the most talented home stagers to ensure that your home is thoughtfully staged to highlight its features and amenities.

Offering over 25 years of local real estate experience, Tom will protect your interests, advocate for you, and go the extra mile to ensure a smooth and successful transaction. If you or someone you know is interested in buying or selling real estate in Oakland County, MI, 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 #314578

Buying a Home in Farmington Hills MI: 5 First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes to Avoid

Buying a Home in Farmington Hills MI: 5 First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes to Avoid

Buying a Home in Farmington Hills MI: 5 First-time Homebuyer Mistakes to Avoid – Having a home to call your own is the “American Dream.” Whether you’re planning to be there for four years or forever, buying a home will be one of the most important personal and financial decisions as well as one of the largest purchases you’ll ever make. Hence the reason why it’s important to know about the common pitfalls that many first-time homebuyers make so you can avoid them.

Here’s a list of typical home-buying mistakes to avoid when buying a home in Farmington Hills MI, which will save you some significant stress on your home buying journey:

1). Not Partnering with A Qualified REALTOR®   

Since finding homes online is fairly easy these days, you may even question whether or not you need to hire a real estate professional. However, the home buying process includes a lot more than just finding a home that you like in the neighborhood you want to live in. It also involves hundreds of details that need to be planned for and navigated in order to achieve a successful transaction. In addition, you’re probably not even seeing the most accurate and updated listings online. A home you fell in love with online today may already be under contract, which is an often occurrence.  

A qualified Farmington Hill MI REALTOR® like Tom Gilliam is an invaluable resource. He is aware of new inventory as soon as it becomes available, ensuring that you have immediate access to the best homes and securing an offer. He is also highly knowledgeable about the area where you want to move and can inform you about the different neighborhoods and communities, the types of homes and features offered, the builders, HOAs, school districts, surrounding area amenities, local community developments, and much more.

An experienced and skilled agent like Tom, who is an area expert and transaction-management ace, will keep you informed every step of the way, protect your interests, advocate for you, and handle the maze of transaction details for a smooth and successful outcome.

2). Buying More House Than You Can Afford  

Although this one may seem obvious, it is a common pitfall among many first time homebuyers. Taking on more mortgage than you can afford is like taking a sledgehammer to your budget. You’ll end up wiping out all your other financial goals and struggle just to pay your basic utilities. Before you begin your home search, you’ll want to figure out exactly how much house you can comfortably afford and still have a life.

A good rule of thumb is that your house payment, including principal, interest, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, private mortgage insurance (PMI), and homeowners association (HOA) fees (depending on your situation), shouldn’t exceed 25% of your monthly take-home pay.  Also, when buying a home, you’ll typically need enough to cover six factors: the down payment, closing costs, moving expenses, repairs and maintenance, the first few months’ mortgage payments, and your emergency fund.

These factors, when added together, will allow you to calculate a ballpark figure for how much you’ll need to save up to be able to afford a home. If you do the math and would be barely able to scrape by, consider holding off until you’re in a more stable financial position.

3). Not Getting Pre-Approved for a Loan

If you start home shopping before you get pre-approved for a mortgage loan, you could get a nasty surprise when you apply for a loan and discover you qualify for much less. It can be tempting to pull up listings online and schedule appointments to see your favorite choices before filling out a mortgage application. But if you don’t already have a preapproval letter in your pocket, that can be a mistake.

A mortgage preapproval helps you understand how much house you can afford before you begin your home search, makes you more attractive to sellers and alerts you to problems that may affect your ability to actually get a loan. To get preapproved, you’ll need to provide the lender with documents they will use to verify your personal, employment, and financial information.

Keep in mind that a lender might approve you for a loan amount that’s realistically more debt than you can comfortably carry month-to-month. Consider that you’ll need to pay homeowners’ insurance, taxes, and possibly flood insurance on your new property or PMI on your loan.  

4). Not Understanding Your Down Payment Options

One of the biggest headaches and obstacles for many first-time homebuyers is the downpayment. – the money that you contribute to the total cost of the purchase. If you don’t have a certain amount to put down on your home loan, you might find yourself paying private mortgage insurance (PMI) on the lifetime of the loan.

Depending on your credit score, the bank, and other factors, PMI can cost between 0.5 percent to 1 percent of the total loan amount. Most banks require at least a 20 percent down payment before they will waive the need for PMI on the loan. For a $300,000 home, you would need a $60,000 downpayment to avoid PMI. So, how much should you save for a down payment?

Typically, it’s recommended that you have at least 20% of the total house price to avoid paying PMI, a type of insurance that protects your lender from losing money in case you can’t make your mortgage payments. However, there are loans that allow you to put as little as 3 percent down on the home which is more attainable, especially for first-time homebuyers. Some government organizations offer free down payment grants or loans to qualified buyers.

Depending on your age, income level, credit score, and other factors, you could qualify for free money to wrap into your down payment; a full rundown of programs is available at downpaymentresource.com. For example, USDA loans and VA loans each have a very specific set of criteria you need to meet in order to qualify for a zero-down mortgage.

5). Not Waiting to Make Other Big Purchases Before Closing 

You’ve been pre-approved for your first mortgage loan, you’ve found the perfect home, your offer has been accepted, the home inspection passed and your loan officer has locked you in at a favorable rate. All that being said, its not the time to go out and buy yourself a big screen TV or furniture for your new house just yet because you won’t officially be a homeowner for another 30 days, give or take.

Even if your lender has approved your mortgage loan, they will check your credit again just before your closing date, prior to granting you the funds. You want to keep your finances stable and opening a line of credit or making a big purchase after mortgage approval is a common mistake. A change in your credit score can actually make you ineligible for the loan, so wait until after closing to make any other financial moves, just to be on the safe side. 

The Takeaway

If this is your first experience buying a home in Farmington Hills MI or it’s been many years since your last home purchase, knowledge is key. Along with knowing what issues to avoid, it’s important to glean first-time homebuyer tips so you know what to expect and what questions to ask your agent.

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

2020 Best of Farmington Hills REALTOR - Tom GilliamA top-rated Farmington Hills and Oakland County MI real estate agent like Tom Gilliam can show you more properties and save you thousands of dollars when buying a home. You need an agent who knows the area, processes a vast network of local connections, and has the skills to negotiate like a pro.

From first-time homebuyers to multi-million dollar investors, Tom continually strives to provide top quality service for his clients. With access to the most up-to-date MLS listings for Oakland county MI properties, Tom is able to match your lifestyle needs with the perfect home.

If you are ready to list your current property, Tom has the experience and skills necessary to handle the sale and marketing of your home for the optimum results. Tom employs the latest technology to deliver massive exposure that will drive mega-response from qualified buyers. Tom also partners with the most talented home stagers to ensure that your home is thoughtfully staged to highlight its features and amenities.

Search the MLS for Properties in Farmington Hills

With over 25 years of local real estate experience, Tom will protect your interests, advocate for you, and go the extra mile to ensure a smooth and successful transaction. If you or someone you know is interested in buying or selling real estate in Farmington Hills, MI, or in surrounding Oakland County. 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
Call: 248-790-5594
Office: 248-737-6800
Email: Tom @ Homes2MoveYou.com
License #314578

NAR’s 5-Point Plan To Help Increase African-American Homeownership

NAR’s 5-Point Plan To Help Increase African-American Homeownership

NAR’s 5-Point Plan To Help Increase African-American Homeownership – Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, interest in home buying is strong as reflected in the surge in mortgage applications to buy a home. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, mortgage applications to buy a home spiked 4% last week to an 11-year high. 

The jump in demand was likely fueled by falling mortgage rates. The fixed 30-year rate fell to 3.3%, the lowest in the MBA survey’s history. That being said, however, there isn’t enough supply to meet demand and significant growth in new home construction is needed.

Before the pandemic hit, the U.S. faced a housing shortage due to multiple years of underproduction of new homes. The housing shortage has intensified as we enter into the second half of 2020.

As a result, home prices are likely to rise, making ownership opportunities for first-time buyers, including minorities, that much more challenging. More homes need to built to offset demand and keep home prices from escalating.   

The homeownership rate for African-American households is now at 44% – compared with an overall U.S. rate of 65.3%. A year ago, it fell to 40.6%, which was the smallest share recorded for Black households since the 1950 decennial Census when it was at 34.5%.

With much of the nation’s attention currently focused on fighting for racial equality, particularly as it relates to African-Americans, the following five-point plan outlined by the National Association of REALTORs® would increase the number of Black homeowners. 

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun stated that “given the events of the recent weeks, it highlighted the progress, or lack of progress, among the African-American community,” adding that the access to homeownership is a critical source for building financial wealth. 

NAR’s five-point plan to help increase minority homeownership, especially for African Americans, includes: 

1). Build more homes to increase supply: The lack of housing supply makes converting from renting to owning very difficult. The lack of viable purchase options and resulting competition rapidly push up home prices, precluding some potential first-time buyers from entering the market. 

Yun stated that since the pool of potential first-time buyers is higher in the minority population if the industry can increase supply, it could help minority households lock in a home. 

2). Build more homes in Opportunity Zones:  NAR strongly supports Opportunity Zones as a means by which to invest in the revitalization of economically-distressed areas. Yun posed the question: “Since the industry needs to build so many homes, why not build or sell homes in the Opportunity Zones to help revive some of those areas?”

He added that there is even a tax break in certain geographically defined opportunity zones for developers to go in and build homes, helping the revitalization of economically-distressed areas. 

3). Increase access to down payment assistance: Saving for a down payment can be the biggest hurdle for renters wanting to become homeowners. In recent years, a growing number of first-time buyers received help from family members with their down payments. 

However, due to historical gaps in accessing and accumulating wealth, it’s much more difficult for African-Americans to obtain substantial financial assistance from family members. Therefore, increased access to federal down payment assistance based on a certain income threshold is vital, particularly for African-Americans. 

4). Strengthen FHA’s loan program: FHA loans have been an important source of financing for first-time buyers and minority households. Shifting federal dollars to strengthen the FHA program could lower mortgage insurance premiums and monthly mortgage payments. 

Yun explained that many minority households are able to become first-time buyers primarily due to FHA mortgages, making the product an important source of financing. 

5). Expand alternative credit scoring models: NAR outlined that expanding credit scoring models to include rent and utility payments would help Black Americans boost their credit score. Yun also shared an estimate from the National Association of Real Estate Brokers that alternative credit scoring would open up buying to around 115,000 Black Americans per year.

Yun added that the industry needs to make sure that it doesn’t make the same mistakes it did in the past, especially 10 years ago with the subprime lending debacle.

The homeownership rate for African-American households fell more than seven percentage points from 47.8% at the start of the financial crisis to last summer’s record low after some predatory lenders focused on minority communities.

“We need to ensure successful homeownership, not just temporary homeownership,” said Yun.

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

A top-rated Farmington Hills and Oakland County MI real estate agent like Tom Gilliam can show you more properties and save you thousands of dollars when buying a home. You need an agent who knows the area, processes a vast network of local connections, and has the skills to negotiate like a pro. From first-time homebuyers to multi-million dollar investors, Tom continually strives to provide top quality service for his clients. With access to the most up-to-date MLS listings for Oakland county MI properties, Tom is able to match your lifestyle needs with the perfect home.

If you are ready to list your current property, Tom has the experience and skills necessary to handle the sale and marketing of your home for the optimum results. Tom employs the latest technology to deliver massive exposure that will drive mega-response from qualified buyers. Tom also partners with the most talented home stagers to ensure that your home is thoughtfully staged to best showcase its features and amenities.

With over 25 years of local real estate experience, Tom will protect your interests, advocate for you, and go above and beyond your expectations 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 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 #314578

7 Good Reasons To Consider Buying a Home in Farmington Hills MI

7 Good Reasons To Consider Buying a Home in Farmington Hills MI

7 Good Reasons To Consider Buying a Home in Farmington Hills MI – If you are like most first-time home buyers, you may have mixed feelings about purchasing a house. Having reservations is normal. You may be worrying about getting tied down and taking on a lot of debt. However, the more you know about the benefits of buying a home, the less intimidating the entire process will seem.  

Here are 7 good reasons why you should consider buying a home in Farmington Hills MI if you can afford it:  

1). Pride of Ownership

The number one reason why most people want to own their own home is the pride of ownership. Buying your first house is a major accomplishment and an important life milestone. In a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors, buyers ranked “desire to own my own home” as their primary reason for buying a house. 

You’ll have the stability and emotional security of owning your own home. No more worrying about rent increases, negligent or bossy landlords, or the possibility your building will be sold and turned into a condo.

You’ll be able to live in your house as long as you like, fix your monthly payments for as long as 30 years and you’ll be in charge.

Homeownership also gives you the freedom to paint the walls any color that tickles your fancy, decorate any way you desire, and choose the types of upgrades and new amenities that appeal to your individual lifestyle. 

2). Roots Within A Community

When you buy a house, you’re not just another tenant swinging through a rental property’s revolving door. Buying a home gives you roots. Remaining in one neighborhood for several years allows you and your family time to build long-lasting relationships within the community.

It also offers children the benefit of educational and social continuity. An ongoing 80-year study by Harvard proves a sense of community is essential to living a long and healthy life, all the more reason to stay awhile.  

3). Appreciation

Historically, real estate has had a long-term, stable growth in value. Real estate moves in cycles – sometimes up, sometimes down. Yet over the years, real estate has consistently appreciated. 

In fact, median single-family existing-home sale prices have increased on average 5.2 % annually from 1972 through 2014, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Even in the most recent 10 years, which included a few very bad years for housing, values are still up 7.0% on a cumulative basis. 

4). Property Tax Deductions

You can deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage from your taxable income. The value of this tax break depends on factors like your personal tax bracket, the size of your mortgage, the rate of interest you pay on it, and how long you’ve held the mortgage.

As a rule, the newer the mortgage, the greater the amount of interest you pay each month, and the bigger the tax break. Recent buyers with young mortgages tend to get the greatest benefit. IRS Publication 530 contains tax information for first-time homebuyers.  

5). Capital Gain Exclusion

Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. When you sell your home, the capital gains on the sale are exempt from capital gains tax.

Based on the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, if you are single, you will pay no capital gains tax on the first $250,000 you make when you sell your home. Married couples enjoy a $500,000 exemption as long as you have lived in your home for two of the past five years.

You don’t have to buy a replacement home or move up.   

6). Mortgage Reduction Builds Equity

Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home. With each mortgage payment, you pay down your debt and accumulate equity in your house. 

Each month, part of your monthly payment is applied to the principal balance of your loan, which reduces your obligation. The principal portion of your principal and interest payment increases slightly every month. It is the lowest on your first payment and highest on your last payment.   

7). Home Equity Loans

You’ll be able to use the equity in your home for low-cost loans for other purposes. You can access the paid-up equity you accumulate in your home in the form of a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit.

Because they are secured, home equity loans and lines of credit generally carry a lower interest rate than other types of consumer loans, such as auto loans. Consumers can borrow against a home’s equity for a variety of reasons such as home improvement, college, medical, or starting a new business. Some state laws, however, restrict home equity loans.

The Takeaway

Yes, buying a home in Farmington Hills MI is a major commitment, but the financial and lifestyle benefits are well worth the cost. If you can afford to buy now, you’ll thank yourself in the long run, and whenever your friends get their annual rent increases.

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

A top-rated Farmington Hills and Oakland County MI real estate agent like Tom Gilliam can show you more properties and save you thousands of dollars when buying a home. You need an agent who knows the area, processes a vast network of local connections, and has the skills to negotiate like a pro.

From first-time homebuyers to multi-million dollar investors, Tom continually strives to provide top quality service for his clients. With access to the most up-to-date MLS listings for Oakland county MI properties, Tom is able to match your lifestyle needs with the perfect home.

If you are ready to list your current property, Tom has the experience and skills necessary to handle the sale and marketing of your home for the optimum results. Tom employs the latest technology to deliver massive exposure that will drive mega-response from qualified buyers.

Tom also partners with the most talented home stagers to ensure that your home is thoughtfully staged to best showcase its features and amenities. With over 25 years of local real estate experience, Tom will protect your interests, advocate for you, and go above and beyond your expectations 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 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 #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

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