IN Shaler Summer 2017 - Page 29

IN THE MARKET TO BUY— IT’S A NUMBERS GAME The real estate market is on the rise, and buyers are facing low inventory on affordable homes. Whether you are looking to purchase your first home or in the market for a new home, it is crucial to get all of your numbers in order before starting the search for a new home. Keeping these tips in mind will help make you an ideal buyer: ● The BIG 20…percent, that is. Most real estate agents will start to take you seriously only after providing a pre-approval letter. If you are thinking that a home purchase is in your future, start to look at your finances. You’re going to need cash, and a lot of it. To avoid PMI and paying additional fees on top of your mortgage, aim to put down 20 percent. If you have relatives or really great friends who are willing to assist you in reaching the 20 percent mark, make sure you look at the rules of receiving “gift money.” Many banks only accept up to a certain percentage of your down payment to be gifted. ● What is FICO and why is 720 important? If you are in the market to buy, the letters F-I-C-O are familiar to you. Fair Isaac Corporation, or FICO, is a well-known software for calculating an individual’s credit score. When getting pre-approved by banks for a mortgage, it is important to have a good score. What is good? 720. According to FICO, the median score in the U.S. is 723. If you are looking for great credit, shoot for anything higher than 723 (think in the 800-900 range). Most banks will offer similar options if you are at or above 720, but if you dip below, it may be best to start by trying to improve your credit before buying a new home. ● Pick your budget range. It is almost impossible to search for a home without knowing what you can afford. Most likely you’ll fall in love with the house of your dreams with an updated kitchen, a claw-foot tub and a man cave, and go to put an offer on it only to find out it exceeds your allowable budget provided by a mortgage lender. Heartbreak will ensue, but you’ll get back on your feet with the realization that you can still get the home of your dreams; you’ll just need to narrow your search. By this point, your Realtor will be able to provide you with options that fit the bill. All real estate websites also provide the convenient option to search by neighborhoods in your price range. ● Make an offer by choosing your numbers wisely. When you’ve finally found THE ONE, it’s time to make an offer. Make sure you do your homework—find comparable houses that were recently sold in the proximity to see if the asking price is fair. When comparing, be sure to take into account number of bedrooms and bathrooms, updates made to the house, and other factors that may determine house price. Once you decide on a fair price, you’ll include earnest money with your offer to show good faith. This money will be held by your Realtor until the deal is finalized, then will be put toward your down payment. Lifelong Shaler Resident Jennifer Rausch, Partner Betsy Wotherspoon & Team 412-897-7908 (mobile) 412-367-8000x264 WotherspoonTeam.com Betsy Wotherspoon & Team: Betsy Wotherspoon, Jennifer Rausch, Kerri Ann Very, Melanie McCluskey, Teresa Huhn – all Licensed Realtors® & Barbara Morgan – Licensed Real Estate Assistant Inviting Cape Cod In Shaler! 157 Elmwood Drive © 2017 BHH Affi liates, LLC. Real Estate Brokerage Services are off ered through the network member franchisees of BHH Affi liates, LLC. Most franchisees are independently owned and operated. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.® Equal Housing Opportunity. Shaler | Summer 2017 | icmags.com 27