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For veterans and active military, VA loans are a great way to achieve the dream of home ownership. More than 22 million service members have used these flexible, no down payment loans since 1944. But when people hear “no down payment,” they often don’t realize they’ll still need some cash on hand to finish the deal. The good news is that buyers don’t have to go in blindly: Your VA loan-savvy real estate agent will be your ally in helping you estimate the costs you will need throughout the process, no matter where you live. “Our goal is to save veterans money and get them into a home that they’re happy with,” You can approach us for Homes For Sale Stephenville.
While the amount you need to close will vary according to your location and situation, experts say you can usually expect to need about 3% of the purchase price on hand to close. If you have any other doubts about Homes For Sale Stephenville, keep in touch with us, or else, you can contact us at (254) 965-7775 to know about that walking horse lot. You can visit our website at www.preferredpropertiestx.com to know about our other services in other areas of Texas.
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There are a lot of great things about being a homeowner, but having to finance home repairs isn’t one of them. Repair costs often pop up unexpectedly and at inopportune times, such as a broken furnace in the dead of winter or an extensive roof repair right after you’ve come back from vacation. And they’re rarely cheap. In 2018, 88% of American homeowners had to take care of at least one major repair, with an average annual spend of almost $5,000.
A home is a big investment, and like many other big investments, you need to take steps to maintain and improve it if you want to make a return. And depending on the age and condition of your home, as well as the elements that it faces where you live, a large part of maintaining your investment is addressing home repairs. So how do you finance home repairs without completely depleting your savings? Alternately, how do you finance home repairs if you don’t have a lot of savings? Fortunately there are options to help with both cases.
Budgeting for Home Repairs
Even before you start looking into ways to finance home repairs you should be actively accounting for the possibility of repairs in your budget. There are a few ways that you may choose to do this, but many homeowners abide by either the 1% rule or the square footage rule. Here’s how they work.
The 1% rule dictates that you should set aside 1% of the purchase price of your home each year for potential repair costs. So if you bought your home for $250,000, that’s $2,500 allotted in your budget year after year for maintenance and repairs. The logic behind the 1% rule isn’t so much that your repairs are going to cost you that much every year, but that it’s a good way to set a guideline and encourage yourself to save.
Variations on this rule include saving 2-3% instead of 1%, or putting aside 10% of what you spend on your property taxes, mortgage payment, and insurance payment each month for repairs. With the latter rule, if you’re spending $2,000 a month on those combined expenses you’ll want to put an additional $200 a month into savings for repairs.
The square footage rule is a recommendation that you budget $1 per square foot of your home for repairs. A 2,200 square foot home means $2,200 in savings for repairs a year, for example, and a 3,000 square foot home means $3,000 a year. Again, this doesn’t mean that there’s a direct correlation between the square footage of your home and what you’ll spend in repair costs each year—it’s just a good way to ensure you’re saving a decent chunk of change toward these types of expenses.
How to Finance Home Repairs
Even with a well-executed savings plan it’s not uncommon to need extra funds when it comes to financing home repairs. If you save $2,000 a year for example, you’ll see it go quickly if you need a roof repair (averages $351 to $1,352, depending on whether the repair is minor or major) followed by a new water heater (averages $767 to $1,447 with the new unit and labor). And there’s always the possibility of needing a notoriously expensive repair, like a foundation repair (average cost of $4,511 but can range as high as $15,000) or needing to restore and repair after incurring water damage (average cost of $2,701).
As you might expect, many homeowners will at some point find themselves in need of having to finance home repairs. And fortunately, there are a few good options for how to do it. Here are five of them.
Home Equity Line of Credit
A home equity line of credit—often shortened to HELOC—is a loan that you take out using the equity that you own in your home. Think of it almost like a credit card, with the set limit that you can borrow being the amount of equity that you have when you first take out the HELOC. Most of the time, you’ll have a 10 year draw period during which you can pull out money from this fund, followed by a 20 year payback period.
There are a few advantages of using a home equity line of credit to finance home repairs. To start, HELOCs generally have low interest rates—or at least lower than you’ll find with other loan options. That’s because lenders consider these loans to be less risky endeavors on their part, since you’ve already shown your ability to earn and pay that amount with your mortgage.
Another advantage is that you can take out money as you need it, instead of taking all of your equity out as a lump sum. If you have $50,000 in equity to borrow from then, you can take out money multiple times during the draw period—perhaps $5,000 for a major roof repair one year, $2,500 for a new gas furnace another year, and so on. And you’ll only pay interest on the amount that you actually pull from the available limit.
A cash-out refinancing takes your existing mortgage and turns it into a bigger mortgage, meaning you end up with a new loan that puts more money in your pocket for things like home maintenance and repairs. You can get up to 80% of the market value of your home refinanced, and then take the difference in cash.
Opting for a cash-out refinance to finance home repairs is a popular choice, since depending on market conditions and how much you’ve already paid toward your original mortgage you could end up with a large amount of cash that you can then put toward expensive repair needs.
Unlike a home equity line of credit, cash-out refinancing doesn’t borrow off of your existing mortgage. Instead, it creates an entirely new mortgage for your property, complete with its own rates, lending terms, and repayment schedule. This means that you may be able to get extra benefits out of a cash-out refinancing if mortgage rates have gotten more favorable since you first bought your home.
FHA Title-1 Loan
A home equity line of credit or cash-out refinancing are great if you have lots of equity in your home, but what if you incur an expensive repair cost in your first year of home ownership or at some other point where you haven’t built up a substantial amount of equity? In that situation, you may want to consider an FHA title-1 loan, which allows you to borrow money specifically for many types of home repairs and improvements.
There are some guidelines to be aware of with an FHA title-1 loan. To start, the maximum loan amount is $25,000 for a standard, single family home, and loans above $7,500 require you to put down your home as collateral (FHA title-1 loans below $7,500 do not need to be secured by your home). The loan repayment period for a single family home is 20 years.
FHA title-1 loans are fixed rate, so you won’t have to worry about variable interest rates over the course of your repayment period. To qualify, you’ll need to have a debt-to-income ratio of 45% or below, and you must be applying the loan to an approved repair or improvement costs. You can find more info on what those are by visiting the Department of Housing’s FHA title-1 loan information page.
Using a credit card to finance home repairs can be an easy way to go, especially if you have a high enough limit on your existing credit card to simply borrow money on there. If you don’t though, you’ll likely have no problem applying for and receiving a new credit card just for home repairs.
It’s important to note though that credit cards aren’t always the best way to go. What you gain in convenience you may end up paying in high interest rates and high monthly payments with a shorter repayment period than you’d get with other types of repair financing loans. Look into the other options above before opting for a credit card if you’re facing a major repair cost and do a comparison on interest rates and other loan terms. If you just need to cover a basic and not too expensive repair though a credit card may be a good way to go.
Finally, you could consider getting a personal loan just for home repairs. These tend to have higher interest rates than options like a home equity line of credit as well as shorter repayment periods, but you’ll have a lot of freedom to use the loan as you need to, and can usually borrow as much as $40,000.
Check with your existing bank first to see what kinds of terms they offer for personal loans, and then expand your search to other lenders. If you can find a personal loan with favorable rates and terms, then it is certainly worth considering as a way to finance home repairs.
Home repairs pretty much always need to get done, even if you don’t have funds on hand. Look through the available options above and find a lending option that makes the most sense for your long term financial goals and your existing financial situation, and be sure to account for repair costs in your annual budget as well.
Home Inspection Household Repairs
| Oct 16, 2019
If you’re selling your home, you might wonder if there are common repairs needed after a home inspection. Most buyers, after all, won’t commit to purchasing a place until there’s been a thorough inspection by a home inspector—and rest assured, if there are problems, this professional will find them!
So if your home inspection turns up flaws that your home buyer wants fixed, what then? To be sure, repair requests after an inspection are a hassle, and liable to cut into your profits. So for starters, make sure to read your inspection contract carefully to make sure you don’t get locked into mending something you don’t want to fix.
“As a seller, you should never sign an inspection contract until you fully understand its obligations, particularly where it concerns your responsibility for fixing things,” says Michele Lerner, author of “Homebuying: Tough Times, First Time, Any Time: Smart Ways to Make a Sound Investment.”
And rest assured, there’s no need for you to fix everything a home inspector thinks could stand for improvement; a home inspection report is not a to-do list. Basically inspection repairs fall into three categories: ones that are pretty much required, according to the inspector; ones that typically aren’t required; and ones that are up for debate. Here’s how to know which is which.
Common repairs required after a home inspection
There are some fixes that will be required by lenders before they will release funds to finance a buyer’s home purchase. Typically these address costly structural defects, building code violations, or safety issues, sometimes in the attic, crawl spaces, and basement, and those related to the chimney or furnace.
An inspector will also check whether your septic system and heater are in good condition and verify whether there’s a possible radon leak or the presence of termites (homeowners tend to have many questions on these topics). Other conditions of the home that an inspector may report on include those related to the roof, electrical systems, and plumbing lines and the condition of your HVAC system.
If a home inspection reveals such problems, odds are you’re responsible for fixing them. Start by getting some bids from contractors to see how much the work will cost. From there, you can fix these problems or—the more expedient route—offer the buyers a credit so they can pay for the fixes themselves. This might be preferable since you won’t have to oversee the process; you can move out and move on with your life.
Home inspection repairs that aren’t required
Cosmetic issues and normal wear and tear that’s found by the inspector usually don’t have to be fixed.
“Some inspection contracts will expressly state that the buyers cannot request any cosmetic fixes to be made and can only ask that structural defects, building code violations, or safety issues be addressed,” says Lerner. Furthermore, “state laws may also impact your liability as a seller for any issues uncovered during an inspection.”
Be sure to check your local ordinances to know which fix-its that are found during an inspection legally fall in your realm of responsibility.
Home inspection repairs that are negotiable
Between fixes that are typically required and those that aren’t is a gray area that’s up for grabs. How you handle those depends in part on the market you’re in. If you’re in a hot seller’s market, you have more power to call the shots.
“While buyers are always advised to have a home inspection so they know what they are buying, when there are a limited number of homes for sale and buyers need to compete for homes, they are more likely to waive their inspection right to ask a seller to make repairs,” says Lerner.
In fact, “the best contract for a seller would be for the buyer to agree to purchase your home as is or to request an ‘information only’ home inspection, thus absolving you of any need to pay for any fixes found by the inspector,” she adds.
However, in a normal market, you won’t be able to draw such a hard and fast line related to an inspection.
Work with your real estate agent to understand what items you should inspect and then tackle—and where you might want to push back. Don’t have an agent yet? Here’s how to find a real estate agent in your area.
Just remember: you’ll want to be reasonable when it comes to repairs because you may have already put a lot of time into the selling process, and it’s likely in your best interest to accommodate some fixes rather than allowing the buyer to walk away. Also, depending on the magnitude of the requested fix, it’s not likely to go away. Now that it’s been uncovered by the home inspector, you’ll need to disclose the issue to the next buyer.
How to negotiate home fixes
Here are two sneaky but totally effective ways to handle this home hurdle that’s been uncovered by your inspector:
- Offer a home warranty. “I sometimes keep a $500 one-year home warranty in my back pocket as a token to ease concerns found during a home inspection,” says Kyle Springer, a Realtor® with Coldwell Banker in Bowling Green, KY. That can come in handy if there is an element that doesn’t truly need fixing but is still worrying the buyers, such as an aging HVAC unit.
- Barter for something of value to the buyer. Often sellers will suggest their real estate agent ask the buyer’s agent if the buyers want appliances or furniture if they have no plans to move them. Springer advises sellers to wait to make that offer until after they get the list from the inspector, because they may be able to beg off certain fixes in exchange for items such as the washer and dryer.
A home inspection can turn up all kinds of issues, but nearly all can be addressed quickly, pleasing buyers and sellers alike.
Interest Rates and Home Payments
Spring is right around the corner, so flowers are starting to bloom, and many potential homebuyers are getting ready to step into the market. If you’re thinking of buying this season, here’s how mortgage interest rates are working in your favor.
Freddie Mac explains:
“If you’re in the market to buy a home, today’s average mortgage rates are something to celebrate compared to almost any year since 1971…
Mortgage rates change frequently. Over the last 45 years, they have ranged from a high of 18.63% (1981) to a low of 3.31% (2012). While it’s not likely that the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate will return to its record low, the current average rate of 3.45% is pretty close — all to your advantage.”
To put this in perspective, the following chart from the same article shows how average mortgage rates by decade have impacted the approximate monthly payment of a $200,000 home over time:
Clearly, when rates are low – like they are today – qualified buyers can benefit significantly over time.
Keep in mind, if interest rates go up, this can push many potential homebuyers out of the market. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) notes:
“Prospective home buyers are also adversely affected when interest rates rise. NAHB’s priced-out estimates show that, depending on the starting rate, a quarter-point increase in the rate of 3.75% on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage can price over 1.3 million U.S. households out of the market for the median-priced new home.”
You certainly don’t want to be priced out of the market this year, and waiting may mean a significant change in your potential mortgage payment should rates start to rise. If your financial situation allows, now may be a great time to lock in at a low mortgage rate to benefit greatly over the lifetime of your loan.
It’s Not a Crisis
In times of uncertainty, one of the best things we can do to ease our fears is to educate ourselves with research, facts, and data. Digging into past experiences by reviewing historical trends and understanding the peaks and valleys of what’s come before us is one of the many ways we can confidently evaluate any situation. With concerns of a global recession on everyone’s minds today, it’s important to take an objective look at what has transpired over the years and how the housing market has successfully weathered these storms.
1. The Market Today Is Vastly Different from 2008
We all remember 2008. This is not 2008. Today’s market conditions are far from the time when housing was a key factor that triggered a recession. From easy-to-access mortgages to skyrocketing home price appreciation, a surplus of inventory, excessive equity-tapping, and more – we’re not where we were 12 years ago. None of those factors are in play today. Rest assured, housing is not a catalyst that could spiral us back to that time or place.
According to Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at Realtor.com, if there is a recession:
“It will be different than the Great Recession. Things unraveled pretty quickly, and then the recovery was pretty slow. I would expect this to be milder. There’s no dysfunction in the banking system, we don’t have many households who are overleveraged with their mortgage payments and are potentially in trouble.”
In addition, the Goldman Sachs GDP Forecast released this week indicates that although there is no growth anticipated immediately, gains are forecasted heading into the second half of this year and getting even stronger in early 2021.
Both of these expert sources indicate this is a momentary event in time, not a collapse of the financial industry. It is a drop that will rebound quickly, a stark difference to the crash of 2008 that failed to get back to a sense of normal for almost four years. Although it poses plenty of near-term financial challenges, a potential recession this year is not a repeat of the long-term housing market crash we remember all too well.
2. A Recession Does Not Equal a Housing Crisis
Next, take a look at the past five recessions in U.S. history. Home values actually appreciated in three of them. It is true that they sank by almost 20% during the last recession, but as we’ve identified above, 2008 presented different circumstances. In the four previous recessions, home values depreciated only once (by less than 2%). In the other three, residential real estate values increased by 3.5%, 6.1%, and 6.6% (see below):
3. We Can Be Confident About What We Know
Concerns about the global impact COVID-19 will have on the economy are real. And they’re scary, as the health and wellness of our friends, families, and loved ones are high on everyone’s emotional radar.
According to Bloomberg,
“Several economists made clear that the extent of the economic wreckage will depend on factors such as how long the virus lasts, whether governments will loosen fiscal policy enough and can markets avoid freezing up.”
That said, we can be confident that, while we don’t know the exact impact the virus will have on the housing market, we do know that housing isn’t the driver.
The reasons we move – marriage, children, job changes, retirement, etc. – are steadfast parts of life. As noted in a recent piece in the New York Times, “Everyone needs someplace to live.” That won’t change.
Concerns about a recession are real, but housing isn’t the driver. If you have questions about what it means for your family’s homebuying or selling plans, reach out to a local real estate professional to discuss your needs.