4 Reasons to Buy a Home in the Spring

4 Reasons to Buy a Home in the Spring | MyKCM

Spring has sprung, and it’s a great time to buy a home! Here are four reasons to consider buying today instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest U.S. Home Price Insights reports that home prices have appreciated by 4.4% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.6% over the next year.

Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage came in at 4.41% last week. Most experts predict that rates will rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting rates will increase by this time next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.

3. Either Way, You Are Paying a Mortgage

Some renters have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.

Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?

4. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

The cost of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Examine the actual reason you are buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, greater safety for your family, or you just want to have control over renovations, now could be the time to buy.

Bottom Line

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

Give us a call with any questions you have. We are here to help! We can also connect you with some of the industries best lenders & title companies.

703-242-3975 or info@thebeltteam.com

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69% of Buyers are Wrong About Down Payment Needs

The Belt Team sells lots of homes to first-time homebuyers and invariably when we meet for the first time, there are lots of misconceptions about what it takes to buy a home. How much money you need for a down payment is almost always one of them.

Here’s an article from Keeping Current Matters about some of the mythunderstandings:

69% of Buyers are Wrong About Down Payment Needs | MyKCM

According to a recent survey conducted by Genworth Financial Inc. at the Annual Mortgage Bankers’ Association Secondary Market Conference, mortgage professionals say that first-time buyers still believe a 20% down payment is necessary to buy in today’s market.

Nearly 40% of mortgage industry professionals surveyed believe that a lack of knowledge about the home-buying process is keeping potential buyers on the sidelines. Saving for a down payment is often cited as a huge barrier for first-time homebuyers to make the leap into homeownership.

If homeowners believe that they need a 20% down payment to enter the market, they also believe that they will have to wait years (in some markets) to come up with the necessary funds to buy their dream homes.

The greatest source of confusion cited in the survey results centered around down payments. The results are broken down in the chart below:

69% of Buyers are Wrong About Down Payment Needs | MyKCM

Rohit Gupta, CEO of Genworth Mortgage Insurance had this to say,

“While first-time homebuyers continue to drive the purchase market, we believe many are staying on the sidelines due to the misconception that a 20 percent down payment is required to secure a mortgage.

There are various low down payment options available today that allow prospective homebuyers to reach their dreams of homeownership sooner. It is crucial that, as an industry, we proactively educate eligible borrowers about solutions that will enable them to buy a home when they’re ready.”

Bottom Line

Don’t let a lack of understanding of the home-buying process keep you and your family out of the housing market. Let’s get together to discuss your options! Call The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975.

What Info Is Needed To Apply For A Mortgage

Tips For First-Time Homebuyers

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Slaying Home Buying Myths

We get questions from first-time homebuyers like this all the time:

  • Do I have to have a perfect credit score?
  • Do I need 20% cash for my down payment?
  • Aren’t interest rates really high?
  • Can I really afford to buy?

Check out what Keeping Current Matters has to say about the myths related to buying a home:

Slaying Home Buying Myths [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • Interest rates are still below historic numbers.
  • 88% of property managers raised their rent in the last 12 months!
  • The credit score requirements for mortgage approval continue to fall.

The Belt Team has a Buyer Specialist whose expertise is First-Time Homebuyers. If you’re looking for someone to walk you through each step of the process, call Beth Dadisman at (703) 577-1144. Or click here to schedule a FREE consultation.

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Here’s how you might feel after you buy your first place! We helped these first time homebuyers find their dream home and go to settlement just last week! The Belt Team is ranked in the Top 20 Real Estate Agents in the State of VA (out of 30,000 agents). Don’t you deserve the BEST?!

The Belt Team Specializes in First Time Homebuyers

Taking the Fear out of the Mortgage Process

We get a lot of questions from people thinking about buying a home – whether for the first time or for the first time in a long time. Here’s a great article from Keeping Current Matters that will demystify the process.

You might also want to read our post “Budget Like It’s 1999 and Other Tips for First Time Homebuyers”!

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Taking Fear Out of the Mortgage Process

A considerable number of potential buyers shy away from jumping into the real estate market due to their uncertainty about the buying process. A specific cause for concern tends to be mortgage qualification.

For many, the mortgage process can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be!

In order to qualify in today’s market, you’ll need to have saved for a down payment (the average down payment on all loans was 11% last month, with many buyers putting down 3% or less), a stable income and good credit history.

Throughout the entire home buying process, you will interact with many different professionals, all of which perform necessary roles. These professionals are also valuable resources for you.

Once you’re ready to apply, here are 5 easy steps that Freddie Mac suggests to follow:

  1. Find out your current credit history & score – even if you don’t have perfect credit, you may already qualify for a loan. The average FICO Score of all closed loans in September was 731, according to Ellie Mae.
  2. Start gathering all of your documentation – income verification (such as W-2 forms or tax returns), credit history, and assets (such as bank statements to verify your savings).
  3. Contact a professional – your real estate agent will be able to recommend a loan officer that can help you develop a spending plan, as well as determine how much home you can afford.
  4. Consult with your lender – he or she will review your income, expenses, and financial goals in order to determine the type and amount of mortgage you qualify for.
  5. Talk to your lender about pre-approval – a pre-approval letter provides an estimate of what you might be able to borrow (provided your financial status doesn’t change), and demonstrates to home sellers that you are serious about buying!

Bottom Line

Do your research, reach out to professionals, stick to your budget, and be sure that you are ready to take on the financial responsibilities of becoming a homeowner.

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Email The Belt Team for our list of trusted lenders. They can walk you through the process in great detail and explain each step along the way, estimate monthly payments and tell you how much cash you’ll really need to have.

Contact us to set up a FREE Buyer Consultation. We will show you our “7 Steps To Your Dream Home”!

Search The Belt Team’s state-of-the-art home finder site.

Slaying Homebuying Myths

The Belt Team had a very successful first-time homebuyer seminar recently. And what we have found over time is that there are a lot of “mythunderstandings” out there about what it takes to buy a home – whether it’s your first home or your fourth. Here’s a great article from Keeping Current Matters that “slays” those myths!

FACTS:

  1. Interest Rates are still below historic numbers.
  2. 88% of property managers raised their rent in the last 12 months!
  3. Credit score requirements to be approved for a mortgage continue to fall. The 723 average score is the lowest since Ellie Mae began reporting on scores in August 2011.
  4. The average first-time home buyer down payment was 6% in 2015 according to NAR.

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Schedule a FREE Buyer Consultation with Our Lead Buyer Specialist

What You Need to Know About Buying A Home

 

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Schedule a FREE Buyer Consultation with Our Lead Buyer Specialist or call (703) 242-3975 for more info.

“Kiss Your Landlord Goodbye” – Interactive Seminar

Homebuyer Seminars Northern VA

Special Millennial Edition Class for First-Time Homebuyers

September 30th at 6:30PM in McLean

Register here    Download Flyer

Today is a great time to enter the real estate market! Why throw money away on rent when you can be your own landlord? Freedom rocks. And so does putting money in your OWN pocket instead of your landlord’s! Mortgage rates are low (for now!) and you may even be able to pay less by owning than renting. Not sure how the process works? We’ve gathered these local experts to share their knowledge with you:

¨ Aaron Gagnon, Loan Officer, Apple Federal Credit Union

¨ Brad Pace, Loan Officer, EverBank

¨ Chris Melnick, Owner, Double Eagle Title

¨ Several local millennials who recently bought their first home

¨ The Belt Team, nationally recognized Top 100 Team with Keller Williams Realty

Here’s what the class will cover:

  • How much money do I need to save?
  • Could I actually pay less by owning than renting?
  • Do I qualify for a mortgage?
  • What would my payment be?
  • What about closing costs?
  • What about inspections?
  • Overview of the market.
  • Search tips & tricks.
  • Best apps to use.

Register FREE before Sept 15. Register here. Seating is limited.

(Note: If you cannot make one of our scheduled classes, we are more than happy to meet for coffee and do a quick, no obligation overview with you.)

Search for homes on our state-of-the-art site

Platinum Sponsor: Double Eagle Title

First Time Homebuyers“This was our first time looking for a home to own and Kevin really guided and took all of our requests and preferences to heart. He made sure all of our worries were alleviated from day one and we couldn’t have asked for a better agent to work with.”

Ben & Lara Kaplan

 

First Time Homebuyer Seminar - The Belt Team“As first time buyers we really appreciated that Tom Reilly respected all of our questions, no matter how elementary. If he didn’t have the answer, he got it for us, ASAP. We worked with another agent earlier in our home search, and Tom was much more attentive and helpful!”

Heather & Doug Roemer

Where Are Home Values Headed?

Keeping Current Matters” has provided us with some excellent information about where home values are headed. Whether you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in Northern VA – you’ll want to check what they had to say:
Home Values Going Up KCM

“Today, many real estate conversations center on housing prices and where they may be headed. That is why we like the Home Price Expectation Survey.

Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists about where prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number.

The results of their latest survey

  • Home values will appreciate by 4.1% in 2015.
  • The cumulative appreciation will be 18.1% by 2019.
  • That means the average annual appreciation will be 3.4% over the next 5 years.
  • Even the experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey still are projecting a cumulative appreciation of 10.5% by 2019.

Individual opinions make headlines. We believe the survey is a fairer depiction of future values.”

FREE INSTANT Online Home Valuation

———————————————————————————————————————————–In addition to the info from Pulsenomics, we also know the government has indicated it likely that interest rates will rise. In fact, we have seen the FHLMC 30 year rate rise already from 3.84% in May to 4% in June and 4.09% in July. In light of the urgency to buy now, we are holding a special MILLENNIAL EDITION of our “Kiss Your Landlord Goodbye” Seminar.

Homebuyer Seminars Northern VA

Today is a great time to enter the real estate market!  Why throw money away on rent when you can be your own landlord? Freedom rocks. And so does putting money in your OWN pocket instead of your landlord’s!  

Mortgage rates are low (for now!) and you may even be able to pay less by owning than renting. Not sure how the process works? We’ve gathered these local experts to share their knowledge with you:

  • Aaron Gagnon, Loan Officer, Apple Federal Credit Union
  • Brad Pace, Loan Officer, EverBank
  • Chris Melnick, Owner, Double Eagle Title
  • Several local millennials who recently bought their first home
  • The Belt Team, nationally recognized Top 100 Team with Keller Williams Realty

Next Class Scheduled: Sept 30th 6:30-8PM in McLean

Register at: www.TheBeltTeam.com/Classes  (Register FREE before 9/10)

Parents: Are YOU your adult child’s landlord? Send them to our class. Invest in their future!

Here are some of the topics we will discuss:

  • Could I actually pay less by owning than renting?
  • How much money do I need?
  • Do I qualify for a mortgage?
  • What would my payment be?
  • Mistakes to avoid.
  • What about inspections?
  • Search tips & tricks.
  • Best apps to use.

Questions? Call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975

Home Buyers – Don’t Let Your Heart Get Broken

Most people looking for a new home start their search online. In fact, according to the NAR, 43% of home buyers used the internet as the first step in their search. And 92% of buyers used the internet in some way as part of their search.

We don’t have statistics for this next fact, but based on our experience we can tell you it’s more common than not.

“Buyers shopping for homes often have their hearts broken.”

In fact, we are so sure of this fact that if you are a Buyer yourself, we will hazard a guess this has happened to you. You search and search and search. All of a sudden you find THE house online. The one you’ve been looking for. The PERFECT one. You call the agent. And it turns out it’s already under contract. Or maybe it’s already even SOLD! Many buyers who come to us have had this happen over and over before they started working with The Belt Team. Don’t let this happen to you. Because once you see the perfect house – nothing else will seem to compare.

Broken Heart - The House Is Already Sold

If you do a Google search for homes, your search will often yield info about homes that are not on the market. Even if you use the most popular search sites like Zillow, Trulia or Realtor.com – you’ll often gather inaccurate or untimely search results.

What’s the answer?

Use the same service that we as Realtors use to help our clients find homes. It feeds directly from the local MLS and is updated more frequently than other sites. Our team invests tens of thousands of dollars per year to have access to this system. (Note: This is just ONE of many special technologies we pay for to enhance our clients’ real estate experience. Per NAR, the average Realtor only spends $848/yr.)

Yes, you will need to register to use it. The system is really easy to use, and it has so many bells and whistles that we want to ensure you are finding EXACTLY what you’re looking for. Time is money. And YOUR time is valuable. Don’t waste it looking at homes that may not be available.

Try it out. We’re pretty sure you’ll like it. (And by the way – it’s FREE to you and there is NO obligation.)

State-of-the-Art Home Search

(We also have a FREE, Instant Home Valuation Tool if you have a home to sell and are wondering what it might be worth.)

Search Northern VA Homes For Sale

The Belt Team is one of the top teams in the world for Keller Williams Realty, the largest real estate company. This is why we have access to tools such as our state-of-the-art home search site. But more important than numbers are people. Every client is important to us. Our mission statement is “Changing Lives For The Better“. If it’s time to change YOURS, give us a call at (703) 242-3975.

(Read what clients have posted about our agents Terry Belt, Kevin Kleifges, Tom Reilly, Beth Dadisman, Gail Belt, Martin Bristow & The Belt Team on independent site ZIllow.com here.)

“Budget Like Its 1999” and Other Tips for First Time Homebuyers

Terry Belt and Chris Melnick

Your son or daughter graduates from college. And they move back home. It’s all good for a while. They were away at school for 4 years (5 in our case!) and it’s really nice to have them around.

Then, all of a sudden, you both start thinking about the day when they move out again.

That’s what happened to us last year. Our daughter Melissa graduated from college, moved home and got her first job (as a teacher at a Catholic school). She made it through her first fall of teaching and as the new year arrived, she started thinking about moving out. While teaching is very rewarding, the rewards are not financial in nature. So she began looking into apartments and rentals.

Since I have been in real estate for almost 30 years, this just killed me. I just couldn’t imagine her throwing away money at rent. But I also knew her finances were tight. Less than a year later, she bought her own condo and became a first time homeowner. Here’s how we made it happen.

3 Tips For Prospective First Time Homebuyers (And Their Parents)

1. BUDGET LIKE ITS 1999

As a young married couple, we wanted to move from our small condo to a single family home. The best advice our parents gave us was to create the budget we would need after we moved into the house and live on it for a year BEFORE we bought the house. That way we would know whether it was realistic and where we could cut corners. So we did the same thing with Melissa. She created a budget on the Mint.com app and lived on it for almost a year before she moved. She included things like a mortgage payment, utilities, home repairs & insurance. Since these were not “real” expenses yet, she took that money each month and banked it in her savings account.

Here are examples of what to include in your budget:

  • Mortgage
  • Taxes
  • Insurance
  • HOA/Condo Fee
  • Utilities (Electricity, Water, Gas, Internet, Cell, Cable)
  • Tithing
  • Saving
  • Home repair/Maintenance
  • Car Payment
  • Groceries
  • Eating Out
  • Pets
  • Clothing
  • Gas
  • Car Repair/Maintenance
  • Medical (Checkups, Prescriptions, Ilnesses)
  • Personal (Haircuts, gifts, vacations, subscriptions)
  • Entertainment/recreation
  • Student Loans

2. WIN-WIN INVESTING

Like many first-time homebuyers, Melissa’s biggest challenge was the down payment and closing costs. Today’s young people are used to a certain standard of living (think Starbuck’s & sushi). It’s really not their fault. They were raised by the generation who wanted their kids to have “more than we had”. We, on the other hand, were raised by post-Depression era parents – and we learned to be frugal, save money and not to buy things on credit. To incent Melissa and encourage her to save – we set up a matching plan. We matched her dollar for dollar over a certain time period up to a set amount of money. This got her into the “Saving Habit” as she was able to see substantial accumulation of her funds. And she continued that habit as a permanent life change. (This not only set her in good stead for saving towards a down payment, it set her up for success going forward.)

That still wasn’t enough though. So we came to an agreement. We would be 50/50 owners. We contributed 50% of the downpayment & closing costs. And we would each make 50% of the monthly payments. (Melissa found a roommate to cover our half of the payments.) When the condo is sold, Melissa will reimburse our 50%. And we will split the profits in half. Win-win. A nice investment for us. And home ownership, equity and a tax write off for Melissa. (Contact your CPA for details regarding how to set this up.)

If you want to buy your first place and don’t have enough cash, don’t give up – you might find that if you present a win-win situation, there are people in your life who would be excited to help you: parents, grandparents, siblings.

3. GET REAL

After living on a budget for a year, Melissa had a “real” number of what she could afford in terms of a monthly payment. The number was $800 net. (So $1,600/mo for the mortgage, taxes, insurance & condo fee – with a roommate to pay half).  She talked with a Loan Officer, got pre-approved for a loan. And only then did she start looking. (Side note: Even though Melissa had no outstanding debt, because she is a teacher with such little income, she still needed co-signers for her loan. Many first-time homebuyers can qualify income/debt-wise, but if not – make sure you talk to your Loan Officer in depth about this because FNMA & FHLMC have different guidelines as to what is required.)

Melissa initially had a LONG wish list for her first place. This was another area in which she had to “get real”. She made a list of “must haves”, “wants” and “dreams”. We started out online. Melissa first started out using our competitor’s “apps” – Zillow, Red Fin, etc. But each time she showed me a listing, it turned out the place was already sold. So she went to our state-of-the-art site and set up a search. (Our site is updated faster than others and this solved the problem of not having current info,)

Next up was open houses. This was a great way to see neighborhoods, check commuting times and narrow down the options. (It also was interesting to experience the less than professional behavior of many Realtors – some who pressured Melissa to act quickly because they had “multiple contracts coming in”. Funny thing is – we’re still getting emails from one agent who has reduced the price three times on the unit with “multiple offers”.)

Melissa’s initial list encompassed condos in Reston, Fairfax, Herndon, Vienna & Oakton. She soon determined she wanted to sacrifice space for time. While the condos in Reston may have been larger, a condo in Oakton meant being 20 minutes closer to work – priceless to someone who who arrives at 7:45 AM and leaves around 6 PM.

Then it was time to get serious. Melissa called Uncle Terry. (Terry Belt, CEO of The Belt Team). Terry’s Realtor perspective was invaluable. At each showing he asked questions, shared knowledge and educated not only Melissa, but us. Despite being in the business on the marketing side for almost 30 years – I learned a lot about what things to consider when buying. Terry pointed out potential costs, resale pluses and minuses, and other issues that never would have crossed our minds. And he negotiated an amazing deal for Melissa when she found her dream place. On the market for $264,000 – Melissa paid $255,794.

Contact Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 for more tips for first-time homebuyers. Our mission is “Changing Lives For The Better” and it would be a pleasure for OUR family to help YOUR family make the RIGHT move!

Thank you also to Chris Melnick with Double Eagle Title. And to Keith Kelly with Churchill Mortgage. Your expertise and personal commitment were stellar. And it’s why we are thrilled when our clients choose you.

 

 

Mortgage Minute for HomeBuyers: “What’s A Qualified Mortgage?”

New mortgage guidlelines

If you’re buying a home in Northern Virginia, you may have heard talk of new mortgage guidelines & regulations, but aren’t sure what that means for you. So we asked our Partner Paul Diaz, Senior Loan Officer with New Penn Financial, to explain.

Northern VA Mortgage Financing
Paul Diaz

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What Is A “Qualified Mortgage”?

Lenders that follow underwriting guidelines and product guidelines exactly when they write a loan will be considered to be making a ‘qualified mortgage”. “Qualified mortgages” will provide lenders and borrowers certain legal protections in the event the borrower should default.

Lenders will more than likely still write mortgage loans that are not considered to be qualified mortgages, but because they will lose some protection should the borrower default on a mortgage loan, most other lenders might just stick to the new definition and stay within the guidelines. This may mean less flexibility in the marketplace for some buyers.

Parameters for a qualified mortgage are as follows:

  • Have a loan term of 30 years or less.
  • Not have negative amortization (monthly payment must cover all the interest due).
  • Not be an “interest only” loan.
  • Not be a “balloon payment” loan where a large lump sum of the principal is due back at one time (exception made for small lenders).
  • Upfront points and fees must not exceed 3 percent of the total loan amount. Note: This cap on points and fees may make lenders less likely to offer smaller loans (less than $100,000).
  • Debt-to-income ratio may not exceed 43 percent. *Note: This can be superseded if the loan is originated and kept in portfolio by a qualified small lender, or if the loan is approved by FHA, VA, USDA, RHS, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. But it may become harder for people with higher debt loads to get approved for a new home if they cannot stay below the 43 percent debt-to-income ratio.

This last guideline is likely to affect many Buyers in Northern Virginia.

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If you’re wondering how much of a mortgage you can qualify for, contact our partner Paul Diaz at New Penn Financial. He can help you analyze the loan product that works best for your needs and help you get pre-approved for a mortgage. This gives you the power of a CASH buyer!

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