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Home Search Frustration?

The best part of buying a new home is going out and touring homes. This is
especially true for first-time home buyers. As time goes on, however, it can
be frustrating when each home falls short of expectations. While it’s
important to be realistic about what is available and affordable, there can
be a temptation to settle when the right homes don’t pop up quickly.

When this happens, it’s important to take a step back and reevaluate the
criteria. Often buyers head out without a solid list of “must-have” and
“like-to-have” features in mind. If finding the right home is becoming
difficult, then this is the time to create or review these items. Consider
lifestyle as well as willingness to renovate or remodel. Is it important the
home is turn-key on day one, or is there a willingness and ability to make
changes after the sale?

Focus on the “must-have” list first. There could be a beautiful chef’s kitchen
on the “like-to-have” but if 4 bedrooms are critical for the size of the family,
the larger kitchen will not compensate for long. That said, if the hope is to
find a home with a pool, is there room to add the pool later?

Finding the right home is often a matter of timing. Patience is the best
advice. With the start of the new year, new listings are hitting the market
every day. The perfect home may not have been listed yet.

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Understanding the Difference Between Interest Rate and APR

One of the least understood aspects of obtaining a home loan is the difference between the interest rate and the APR (Annual Percentage Rate). At first glance, they sound like the same thing, but while they both impact the cost of the loan, they are two different aspects of the home loan program.

Home interest rates, or more commonly referred to as mortgage rates, are the actual cost of borrowing the money needed to buy the home. Lenders use the borrower’s credit score, income, loan amount, and other factors to determine their risk of lending the money. Then, they determine how much interest to charge on the principal loan amount.

On the other hand, APR provides an overall picture of the total cost of borrowing. It includes not only the interest rate cost, but also other costs and fees associated with the loan. Items such as origination fees, points, and mortgage insurance are all added to the total interest due over the course of the loan and then compared to the amount borrowed to determine the Annual Percentage Rate.

For potential borrowers, the APR allows them to compare the total cost of the loan among all available loans. One might offer a lower interest rate but once the fees and costs are included, it may end up costing more in the long run. Mortgage financing can seem complicated and confusing but by learning the terms and how they affect the loan, borrowers can make informed decisions about what loan program makes sense for their needs.

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What to Expect From a Listing Agent

You already know that the best way to sell your home, and for the most
profit, is to hire a listing agent. The fact is that people who sell using a real
estate agent make more profit and have a smoother transaction than those
who try to do it themselves. Yet often consumers don’t know everything the
listing agent does. Listing a home properly entails so much more than
putting a lockbox on the front door and slapping a sign in the yard.

The listing agent is your advocate and partner in the selling process. They
help guide you through the transaction, negotiate on your behalf, and work
with the buyers’ agents to get you the best deal possible. A good listing
agent will provide you with regular updates and input from showings. The
most important thing is to discuss and set expectations at the beginning.

Some sellers ask that their agent attend all showings. This is typical with
luxury properties, for example. But often they do most of their work behind
the scenes, encouraging offers, negotiating counter offers, working with
lenders and appraisers, handling loose ends and hiccups.

Once in a while, things don’t go well. The partnership becomes difficult or
impossible. Since almost all listings involve a reasonable time limit, you
may feel trapped or hopeless that there is a solution. In this case, you do
have options. First, if your agent works for a brokerage, call the managing
broker who can mediate, or if necessary, reassign your listing if needed.

Your agent is your partner. Be honest and open with your needs and
expectations. In this way, you can work together to sell your home quickly
and for the best price and terms possible.