Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith - Kinlin Grover Real Estate



Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 9/13/2018

We all know that buying a home is expensive. For first-time buyers who don’t have the luxury of equity for a down payment, it can be difficult to find a way to finance your home without taking on a huge interest rate and mortgage insurance.

Fortunately, loan programs like those offered by the U.S. Veterans Affairs can be a godsend. However, there is a great deal of confusion around who is eligible for VA loans and how to acquire them.

So, in today’s post, we’re going to cover some of the frequently asked questions of VA loans. That way, you can feel confident in knowing whether or not it’s a good financing option for you and your family.

VA Loans FAQ

Who is eligible for a VA Loan?

VA loans aren’t just for veterans. Most members of the military, including Reserve and National Guard members can apply. Additionally, spouses of service members who died from a service-related disability and those who died on active duty can apply as well.

How long do you have to service to be eligible?

The VA defines eligibility as having served no less than 90 days of service during wartime and 181 days of continuous service during peacetime.

Who are VA Loans offered by?

Like any other loan, VA loans are offered by private lenders. The difference is that VA loans are guaranteed by the government. That means that the federal government takes on some of the risk of lending to you, therefore making it possible to secure a loan with little or no down payment.

Should I make a down payment on a VA loan?

If you have the means, making a down payment will almost certainly save you money in the long run. If you can put down 10% of your total mortgage amount, you can also significantly reduce the VA Funding Fee.

Will I have to pay private mortgage insurance?

Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is something that borrowers pay on top of their mortgage payments and interest. This additional insurance helps borrowers buy a home with a small down payment. VA loans allow you to secure a mortgage without PMI.

Are VA loans different for active duty, National Guard, and Army Reserve members?

Each type of service member is eligible for a VA loan. However, there are some minor differences regarding the VA Funding Fee. With no down payment, an active duty member would pay 2.15% of the loan amount in fees. National Guard and Army Reserve members pay around 2.40% with no down payment.

What does my credit score need to be to get a VA loan?

The VA doesn’t have a set minimum credit score. However, the private lenders that offer the loan do. On average, the lowest credit score that you can secure a VA loan with is around 620. That being said, a higher score will secure you a lower interest rate, saving you money over the lifetime of your loan.




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Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 8/30/2018

For many individuals, the homebuying journey often begins with getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Because if a buyer has a mortgage, he or she can enter the real estate market with a budget in hand.

Ultimately, there are many signs that now may be the perfect time to apply for a mortgage, and these include:

1. You're ready to upgrade from an apartment to a home.

If you're tired of paying monthly rent for an apartment, purchasing a house offers a viable alternative. And if you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can move one step closer to moving from an apartment to a house.

In most instances, a home offers a significant upgrade over an apartment. Many residences are available in cities and towns nationwide that offer more space than apartments. Plus, as a homeowner, you won't have to worry about dealing with a landlord.

2. You feel good about your credit score.

If you have a strong credit score, you likely are a great candidate for a mortgage. In fact, you may be better equipped than others to get a favorable interest rate on the mortgage of your choice.

Understanding your credit score is a key part of the homebuying journey. You can request a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Then, once you find out your credit score, you can determine whether you are in good shape to pursue a mortgage.

3. A buyer's market is in place.

In a buyer's market, there usually is an abundance of top-notch houses and a shortage of buyers. This means a homebuyer may be able to get a wonderful deal on a house, especially if he or she performs a comprehensive house search.

To find out whether a buyer's market is in place, you should check out the prices of recently sold houses in your area. Also, you may want to find out how long recently sold houses were listed before they sold. By reviewing this housing market data, you can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market and decide whether now is the right time to apply for a mortgage.

If you're interested in getting a mortgage and starting a house search, you may want to hire a real estate agent too. Because if you have a real estate agent at your side, you can receive extensive support at each stage of the property buying journey.

A real estate agent will teach you everything you need to know about pursuing a house. He or she will offer insights into the local housing market and ensure that you can conduct a successful house search. And if you ever have concerns or questions along the way, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them.

Want to launch a home search? Get pre-approved for a mortgage, and you can take the first step to acquire your ideal residence.




Tags: Mortgage   Buying a home  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 8/23/2018

Before you even start the home search, research is key. There are a few areas that you should look closely at in every home that you’re touring in order to make an informed decision about each property and your future in it. 


Check The Foundation


When you’re walking around the home, note creaky floors, cracks in the walls, and water drainage issues. Maybe you won’t even be able to see if the foundation has any cracks in it or not with your own two eyes. A certified home inspector will, however, be able to tell you what is happening on the property. Cracks in the foundation or major foundational damage can be incredibly costly to you as a homeowner. You’re going to want to know about these issues ahead of time. 


Do Some Investigating


Taking a walk around your desired neighborhood can give you a lot of valuable information. You may be able to talk to neighbors who will give you a bit of information about a property. Even wandering around the neighborhood or attending yard sales can help you to see what’s going on, if you can see yourself living there, and if there are any major issues that you should be aware of. 


Be Likable


Sellers prefer to sell a home to a buyer who they like. if you see that you have something in common with the seller like the fact that you’re both veterans, you should send a letter along with your offer to let the seller know your connection. It’s also helpful to send an offer letter that lets the seller know how much you love the house and that you can see yourself living in the home. It never hurts to add a personal touch to a home offer.  


Keep Your Options Open


Just because a home doesn’t consist of the modern decor you picture yourself living in, doesn’t mean it can’t be changed. If a home happens to be older with less present-day decor in it, be sure to keep an open mind as to the potential that the home has for you.


Make A Strategic Offer


We know that prices that end in 9 are a bit more attractive to the psyche than prices that end in a flat zero. If the asking price for a home is $310,000, you may be tempted to offer $320,000 to shell out the competition, but you may be better off offering an odd number like $312,000. Sometimes a small difference makes a big impact in the eyes of the buyer. Work with your realtor to see if a home you’re interested in has any other offers. Your agent can help you to find a good price point for your offer as well.





Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 8/16/2018

Once you discover your dream house, you probably want to do everything possible to acquire this residence. However, it is important to remain calm, cool and collected as you navigate the homebuying journey. Because if you act too hastily, you risk overspending to purchase your ideal residence.

Let's face it – the temptation to submit an offer to purchase your dream home that may require you to break your homebuying budget can be overwhelming. Lucky for you, we're here to help you consider your offer to purchase closely and ensure you provide a competitive homebuying proposal that won't force you to exceed your budget.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you craft a competitive offer to purchase your dream house.

1. Analyze the Housing Market

The real estate market may have major ramifications on the offer you submit to acquire your dream residence, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

For example, if you are operating in a buyer's market, there likely is an abundance of sellers and a limited number of buyers. If you find your dream house in a buyer's market, you may be able to acquire this residence by submitting an offer to purchase at or near a seller's initial home asking price.

On the other hand, navigating a seller's market may prove to be tricky. In a seller's market, there is a shortage of high-quality houses available and an abundance of buyers. Therefore, if you want to purchase your dream residence in a seller's market, you may need to submit an offer to purchase at or above a seller's initial home asking price.

Consider the housing market closely as you prepare an offer to purchase. If you can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's one, you can submit an offer to purchase your dream house that falls in line with the current housing market's conditions.

2. Weigh a Home's Strengths and Weaknesses

When it comes to putting together a competitive offer to purchase, it helps to consider a house's strengths and weaknesses. That way, you can account for the costs of any potential home repairs or improvements in your homebuying proposal.

You should consider a home's location as well. For instance, a home in a remote town may prove to be more affordable than a comparable house near a big city. And when you craft an offer to purchase, you should always account for a house's location.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent can help you submit a competitive offer to purchase at any time. This housing market expert is happy to provide a recommendation about how much to offer to acquire your dream home. And if you have homebuying concerns or questions, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them at your convenience.

Want to buy your dream residence? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can avoid the risk of spending too much to acquire your ideal house.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 8/2/2018

Buying a home will be the biggest purchase of your entire life. It’s not a decision that anyone should or will take lightly. You want to buy a house that you can live in. Sometimes, it’s even best to think of your home purchase from the perspective of others. Ask yourself, “Would other people want to live here?” When it comes to your home, the financial buzzword is “equity.” As the buyer, you want to be able to build some equity into your home so that if you should choose to sell it, you’ll make a profit. Whether your home is only meant to live in for a few years until your family outgrows it, or you think it’s going to be a forever home, life happens and you don’t want to be stuck with a home that you must take a loss on. Keep these aspects of the home in mind when you are ready to buy: Size Most people search for 3 to 4 bedroom homes. Whether they are married and want to have children or just need extra space for another baby that is on the way, families typically look for places where they have room to grow. The number of bathrooms in a home is also key. Families don’t want to share one bathroom among 4-5 people. These factors are even more important than the actual space available in the home by square footage. On the flip side, you don’t want your home to be too big either. Larger homes aren’t as energy efficient and can cost more to maintain. Know that there is a “sweet spot” for your square footage. Usually this is somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 square feet of living space. Room To Expand Look at the home to see if there is room to expand. Perhaps you need another bathroom, but there’s some space to construct an additional half bath. This factor of expansion is key when it comes to a home or property. Look Past The Appearance Things like paint colors, floors, carpets and other aesthetics aren’t as important as the big things when it comes to buying a home. You can easily change these without much cost or effort on your part. While everyone loves a move-in-ready home, don’t let a little paint separate you from a home that you love! Curb Appeal Helps While it’s easy to fix some things like the color of a home or the shrubs, find your vision to give the home you’re about to purchase some curb appeal. If you can see past the imperfections and make your home your own from the outside in, your home will be attractive. There’s plenty of things you can add and fix from doors to landscaping to paint to a new mailbox. All of these can give your home some serious curb appeal. Sound Structure If the structure of the home is not in good condition, you’ll face many problems down the road. You want to avoid costly repairs by ensuring that you buy a home without serious structural damage or wear. The most important part of a home’s structure is that of the foundation. If a home has a cracked foundation, it’s going to cause some problems. Be sure that you hire a reputable inspector and attend the inspection so you know exactly what’s going on with the home you are about to purchase. You can prepare yourself for any problems or issues this way, and make a decision from there. A home that has a good structure to start will undoubtedly continue to help you build equity in your purchase.