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If you’re hoping to buy your first home in the near future, you’re likely wondering about the different types of mortgages that you may qualify for. Since the 1930s, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has been insuring home loans for first-time homeowners across America.
This program helps people achieve homeownership who typically wouldn’t be able to afford the down payment or pass the credit score requirements to secure a traditional mortgage.
In today’s post, we’re going to answer some frequently asked questions about FHA loans to help you decide if this is the best option for your first home.
Does the FHA issue loans?
Although they’re called “FHA loans,” mortgages are not actually issued by the FHA. Rather, they’re issued by mortgage lenders across the country and insured by the FHA.
Will I have to make a down payment?
With an FHA loan, your down payment can be as low as 3.5%, significantly lower than traditional loans at 20% down payment. However, you will be required to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) in addition to your monthly mortgage payments until you have paid off 20% of the home. So, the best case scenario would be to save as much as possible for a down payment to reduce the amount of mortgage insurance you have to pay.
What are the benefits of an FHA loan?
The three main reasons to secure an FHA loan are:
You can qualify with a low credit score
You can make a smaller down payment than traditional mortgages
Your closer costs will be less expensive
Where do I apply for an FHA loan?
You can apply for an FHA loan through a mortgage lender. You can also work with a mortgage broker to help choose a lender.
Is an FHA loan the only loan option for low down payments?
There are multiple loan programs offered at the state and federal level to help individuals secure a mortgage with a lower down payment. They can be provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the USDA, or state-sponsored programs. Lenders also often sponsor their own programs to attract potential borrowers. However, always make sure you compare these programs to make sure you’re making the best long-term financial decision.
Do all FHA loans offer the same interest rates and costs?
No. Since the loans are only insured by the FHA, it’s up to the lender to determine your interest rate and fees. So, it’s a good idea to shop around for the best lender.
How high does my credit score have to be to qualify for an FHA loan?
You can secure a mortgage with a down payment as low as 3.5% with a credit score of 580 or higher. However, if you can afford to make a larger down payment, you can secure an FHA loan with a credit score as low as 500.
If your score is in the 500-600 range, it’s typically a better idea to spend a few months building credit before applying for a home loan.
What information will I need to apply?
You’ll need to gather all of the same information that you would for a typical mortgage. This includes W2s from your employer(s), two years of submitted tax forms, your current and former addresses from the past two years, and your gross monthly salary.
I’ve owned a house before, can I still qualify for FHA loans?
Even if you’re not a first-time homebuyer you can still qualify for an FHA loan. However, you cannot qualify if you’ve had a foreclosure within the last three years or have filed for bankruptcy within the last two years.
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Most times, after moving your property into your new home, you have stacks of empty cardboard boxes to put away. After taking out the contents, you might be wondering what to do with that pile of cardboard. Thankfully, cardboard moving boxes are easy to reuse and can serve other purposes.
Break Down All Your Boxes
The first thing to do with your moving boxes in preparation for recycling is to break them down; it makes it easier to recycle. Empty all contents in the boxes, cut tape along the connections rather than tearing it off, collapse the boxes, and ensure they are entirely flat. Cut out any part that might have damage from liquids or spills as it is almost impossible for recycling companies to recycle saturated cardboards. Store the deconstructed boxes in a dry place until you can bring them to a waste management facility or until you can arrange for pickup.
Check with the Waste Management Company
Before bringing out all your boxes and stacking them right next to your bin, ensure the waste management truck will collect them during regular pickup times. Most cardboard boxes take up a lot of space even when collapsed, so services pick them up on different days or require you to deliver them. Put a call into your waste management company or instructions or ask for a drop off point you can take the boxes to yourself.
Put the Cardboard to Use Yourself
You can repurpose your boxes without sending them to the recycling plants. Consider the following:
For Compost: If you make compost, throw your cardboard boxes into the pile. They will break down into mulching for gardening. You can compost boxes damaged by food or water but avoid incorporating boxes soiled by chemicals.
For Protecting Your Floors: If you intend to paint your new home, your cardboard will come in handy for protecting your floor from paint spills. Cut open your boxes to make them bigger and tape them together to protect a wood floor or carpet.
Lastly, rather than recycle or repurpose your boxes, be a good neighbor, and consider gifting them to someone that is moving. Check with your real estate agent to see if another client could use your boxes.
If you’re in a space with a small kitchen, you know that you face a lot of problems including not enough storage, minuscule amounts of prep space, and barely enough room for more than one person in the kitchen at a time. The layout of the room along with the design is what you must work with when you have a small kitchen. There are a few storage solutions that you can use to make your kitchen into a workable space.
Clear The Clutter
Do you have a lot of gadgets hanging around your kitchen that you aren’t using on a regular basis? If there’s no space to store them, perhaps you should consider getting rid of them. That ice cream maker that you may have thought was a good idea to purchase may sit unused, taking up space. You should store only the things you need, and get rid of any items that are just collecting dust.
Use An Armoire Or Other Shelving Unit
Small kitchens often lack cabinet space. You can use items like armories and bookshelves to give yourself more storage space. Whether you need to store dishes, food items, or pots and pans, these unusual items can help to provide you big amounts of storage. You can even add your own shelves to kitchen walls. All of these ideas provide inexpensive, yet practical solutions to your kitchen storage woes.
Find An Island
There are carts and other portable kitchen island units that exist to provide additional storage and prep space fro you. Many of these have fold-out counter space and drawers and cabinets. If you have some floor space in your small kitchen, this could be a great use of that space.
Hang Your Things
No matter how small your kitchen is, you have some room to hang things. You can use hooks in various places in the kitchen whether it’s on a wall or under a shelf. All of your utensils and pots and pans have the ability to hang up somewhere. Give yourself some more storage room and maximize the space that you do have in the kitchen. There are various designs that you can make use of to hang pots and pans using hooks, racks, or even a hanging shelf. Hang your utensils strategically so they are within reach of your cooking area.
Remember that you have a lot of space available over your head in most cases in a small kitchen. The more you can maximize vertical space, the better off you’ll be. You can place your least used items the highest up and work your way down.
With the right techniques, storage space doesn’t have to be a huge issue in a small kitchen.
The entryway to your home is probably quite small, but you can make the most of your space by pinning down what you really need there. Below, you’ll find some items that you should try and keep around the entry of your home for both design appeal and organization purposes.
A Place For Coats
When guests come to visit, it’s welcoming for you to be able to offer them a place to hang their coats, rather than throwing them into a bedroom or on a chair. You can place coatracks on a wall for easy hanging, giving everyone open access to their coats when they need them. You can even place a coat rack along a stairway hall. This way everything from coats to bags to hats will all be in one place.
Having a weather-resistant rug available in the entryway of your home can help to keep dirt and grime off of the floor.
Every entryway needs some type of storage for items like extra coats, shoes, umbrellas, even bags. You can use an inexpensive shelving system or go as fancy as using a dresser or armoire.
It’s important to have some kind of seating near the entryway of your home. This way, you’ll have a place to sit down and put on shoes. Seating will also help make the entryway more comfortable. Make sure that the seating allows for a casual feel to add to the warmth of the welcome.
Flowers And Plants
Using flowers and plants in the entryway of your home gives guests that welcoming pop of color that will brighten their day. It’s one of the first things that guests will see when they walk up to the front door of your home, so you’ll want to make a good first impression. Shoot for year-round plants that don’t require a lot of maintenance and can be kept up easily no matter what the season.
Once you enter your home in the evening hours, one of the first things you want to do is turn on a light. This is one of the best features for your home to have safety and security when you enter and exit the house. You can choose any kind of light fixture that you want to accent your home in order to bring out the beauty. The only requirement is that you should make sure a light switch is always within an arm’s reach.
Make It Your Own
The most important thing that you can do for your entryway is to make it your own. You can add any kind of accents and features that you choose. The entryway is the first impression that people will get of your home, so make it count!
As a home seller, it is essential to do everything possible to promote your house to the right groups of property buyers. However, as you approach the finish line of a home sale, you may encounter a "persistent" homebuyer. And if this happens, the home selling process may come to a screeching halt.
A persistent homebuyer may be more likely than others to demand home improvements or a price reduction to finalize a house sale. As a result, you may need to decide whether to accommodate this homebuyer's requests, continue to negotiate with him or her or walk away from a potential home sale altogether.
So what does it take to deal with a persistent homebuyer? Here are three tips to help you do just that.
1. Understand the Housing Market
Are a homebuyer's requests valid? If so, they are likely to be based on housing market data. Therefore, if you analyze the housing market closely, you can better understand a persistent homebuyer's demands and proceed accordingly.
Take a look at the prices of comparable houses in your city or town. By doing so, you can determine how your house's price rates against the competition.
Also, don't forget to assess the prices of recently sold homes in your area. This housing market data will help you understand the demand for houses in your city or town and determine whether you're operating in a seller's or buyer's market.
2. Stand Your Ground
A persistent homebuyer may be in a hurry to purchase your house. As such, he or she may push you to make rash decisions that may not be in your best interest.
For home sellers, it is important to take a step back and evaluate all aspects of any home selling decisions. And if you feel uncomfortable with a homebuyer's requests, you should feel comfortable walking away from a possible home sale.
Ultimately, declining a homebuyer's requests and walking away from a home sale is far from ideal. On the other hand, doing so will allow you to reenter the housing market and restart the home selling journey with a fresh perspective.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
If you're unsure about how to deal with a persistent homebuyer, you're probably not alone. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available nationwide to help you handle tough negotiations with any homebuyer, at any time.
A real estate agent understands the art of negotiation and can share his or her housing market expertise with you. That way, you can get the support you need to make informed decisions at each stage of the home selling journey.
Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will respond to your home selling queries as the property selling journey progresses. No question is too big or too small for a real estate agent, and this housing market professional is happy to answer your home selling questions time and time again.
Take the guesswork out of dealing with a persistent homebuyer – use these tips, and you can boost your chances of getting the best results from the home selling journey.