5 Lincoln Street, Canton, MA 02021
781-710-6686 | julie@donahuere.com



Posted by Julie Shanks on 11/25/2018

If you’ve been considering taking the next step toward homeownership, you’ve likely heard about FHA loans. Offered by the Federal Housing Administration (hence, “FHA”), these loans are great for a number of people hoping to purchase a home but who don’t have a large down payment saved.

There are many misconceptions about FHA loans since they’re often advertised by large, private mortgage lenders but are technically a government program. In order to clear up some of the confusion, we’ve provided answers to some frequently asked questions regarding FHA loans.

Read on to learn about FHA loans and how they might help you purchase a home.

Who issues an FHA loan?

FHA loans aren’t issued by the government. Rather, they’re issued by private lenders but insured, or “guaranteed,” by the government.

Since lenders want to make sure they’ll see a positive return from lending to you, they typically want you to have a high credit score and a large down payment (typically 20%). However, not everyone is able to meet those requirements. In this situation, the FHA is able to help you acquire a loan by giving your lender a guarantee.

Are there different types of FHA loans?

Yes. In fact, there are nine distinct types of loans guaranteed by the FHA. These include fixed rate mortgages, adjustable rate mortgages, refinance loans, reverse mortgages, VA loans, and more.

What do you need to qualify for an FHA loan?

It’s a common misconception that you need to be a first-time buyer to qualify for an FHA loan. However, if you have previously owned a home that was foreclosed on or if you’ve filed for bankruptcy, the foreclosure and bankruptcy have to be at least three years old.

You’ll also need to demonstrate a stable employment history, usually including two years of employment with the same employer.

Finally, the FHA will ask you for your current and previous addresses, the last two years tax returns, and the W-2 forms from any of your recent jobs.

What is the most I can borrow with an FHA loan?

The FHA sets mortgage limits on loans depending on the state and county you’ll be living in. For a single-family home, the limit ranges from $275,000 to $451,000. So be sure to check the limits for your state and county.

Can you refinance an FHA loan?

Refinancing a loan is a great way to receive a lower interest rate or to shorten the term of their mortgage to save in the total number of interest payments. In fact, the FHA typically only allows refinancing when it will result in lower interest payments on a loan.

What is the minimum credit score needed to qualify for an FHA loan?

While you don’t need excellent credit to qualify for a loan, the FHA will require you to have a score of at least a 580. You can check your score for free online from a number of companies, such as Mint or Credit Karma. Be aware, however, that scores vary between credit bureaus. So, it’s a good idea to check your FICO score once per year, which is the score used by mortgage lenders.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Julie Shanks on 8/5/2018

As a first time home buyer, you may feel like a fish out of water when it comes to the process of getting a home. If you’re ready to buy your first home, there’s some key mistakes that you should avoid. 


You Think That You Don’t Need Help From A Professional


So many homebuyers think that they can save themselves a few dollars by avoiding working with a realtor. This is a big mistake. Realtors are a valuable resource for buyers and will help you throughout the process of purchasing a home. Realtors can help guide buyers step-by-step while providing assistance with things like negotiations and making sure all of the paperwork gets from point A to point B. You’ll also need other professionals involved in this process of home buying including lawyers and loan officers. Having these people on your team protects you and gives you a backing of knowledge that you wouldn’t otherwise have. 


Don’t Skip Pre-Approval


Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is key before you even start to search for a house. The pre-approval letter is a great resource in helping you land the home of your dreams. If you’re going up against other bids on a home, your bid will be seen as more serious if you have been pre-approved. Getting a pre-approval lets sellers know that you’re serious about the whole process of buying a home and are ready to make the financial commitment. 


Know The Costs Associated With Buying A Home


Just because you have the monthly income to pay a mortgage doesn't mean you’re financially ready to buy a home. There’s a few things that need to be in place before you can even commit to buying a home. First, you’ll need to make sure your credit score is up to par. Next, you’ll need to have enough saved up for a down payment. Without a down payment of at east 20% of the purchase price of a home, you’ll need to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). There’s plenty of other costs that you’ll need cash on hand for when it comes to buying a home. This includes home insurance, home inspections, closing costs, property taxes, HOA fees, and maintenance. In other words, there needs to be some wiggle room in your budget for all of the extra costs that go into closing on a home and maintaining a home. 



Don’t Completely Deplete Your Savings


Just because you have been saving up for years to buy a home, doesn’t mean you need to completely deplete your savings in one pass. If you lack an emergency fund, you’re not buying a home with a responsible financial cushion. While you’ll probably take out a good chunk of savings in order to purchase the home, you need a bit more. Experts say that you need about 3-6 months of expenses saved up in case of the event of illness, job loss, or other emergency. Hence the name “emergency fund.”





Posted by Julie Shanks on 5/14/2017

Many people think of their first home as a “starter home.” This refers to a home that is fairly small and typically is for young people who are just starting out in a new phase of life. These types of homes are generally not thought of as “forever homes.” Many times, as families expand, they will move on from their starter homes to bigger and better homes. This includes living in desirable neighborhoods and adding extra comforts that the first home may not have had. Other times, people expand on their starter home in order to make more room for children and the needs of a growing family. These homes truly are jumping off points. Studies show that the idea of starter homes is disappearing. It could be that the requirements of first-time homebuyers are changing and therefore the types of homes that are being sought after are few and far between. The expectations of buyers have increased greatly. Buyers would like adequate space and hope that their first home is not only in a great location, but ready for them to move in without much work as well. Really, buyers are looking for everything anyone would want in their forever home in their starter homes. So, is it a smart idea to search for a starter home, only to move a few years later? The answer is multi-faceted. Starter homes are typically the homes that you can afford at the present time in your life. If you decide that you can save up longer and go for the house you really want, that may be a smarter financial decision for you. There’s always an option to wait for more homes to go on the market while you rent a place. If you do decide to go for a starter home, here’s some tips for you: Don’t Try To Get Everything You Want For A Low Price Buyers tend to have wish lists of the things they desire in a house. While that’s a great idea, don’t expect to get everything you want in your starter home. Manage your expectations along with the cost of the home. See Where You Can Expand Many homes have great potential, but buyers have what they see set in their minds and fail to see what can be done in the future. Look at homes with open eyes and picture the possibilities. Know There Will Be Work Involved Purchasing a starter home means that you’ll usually need to participate in home improvement projects. Don’t go for a home that needs major work done if you’re not up for the challenge. Typically, you’ll need to be able to get your hands dirty by doing things like changing out wallpaper, painting walls, or sanding cabinets. These are the little projects that make your house your own.





Posted by Julie Shanks on 3/12/2017

There's no denying the truth – the real estate market can be complicated. As such, regardless of whether you're a first-time or experienced homebuyer, you'll want to do everything you can to prepare for the process of purchasing a new residence. So what does it take to ensure you can land your dream home in any real estate segment? Here are three tips for both first-time and experienced homebuyers: 1. Understand the Speed of the Real Estate Market. A newly listed residence may sell only a few hours after it reaches the real estate market. Thus, you'll want to stay on top of houses as they become available in cities and towns where you'd like to relocate; otherwise, you risk missing out on what could be your perfect residence. Remember, the real estate market moves fast, and homebuyers who hesitate likely will struggle to score their dream homes. To accelerate the homebuying process, you'll want to get pre-approved for a mortgage. By doing so, you can submit an offer without having to commit significant time and resources to secure financing for your dream home down the line. Also, if you're interested in a home and feel comfortable with a residence, don't wait too long before you submit an offer. Because if you do, you could lose your dream home to another homebuyer. 2. View Any Home Purchase as an Investment. Although you have no plans to purchase a home and sell it at a later date, the future remains unpredictable. As a result, you should view any home you check out as a long-term investment and try to find a residence that you believe will increase in value. Typically, what you pay for a home is unlikely to represent your residence's total value in five or 10 years. But homebuyers who view a home purchase as an investment will understand that a residence's value will fluctuate over time and dedicate the time and resources to maximize a home's value, too. Look beyond a home itself to determine whether you are comfortable with a residence as a long-term investment. For instance, if you buy a newly constructed home in an up-and-coming area, the residence's value may rise quickly in the foreseeable future. On the other hand, if you purchase a "fixer-upper," aka a home in need of significant repairs, you may need to consider setting extra money aside to complete home improvement projects to help optimize this residence's value. 3. Work with an Experienced Real Estate Agent. Although you've done plenty of research about the housing market, it never hurts to have an experienced real estate agent at your disposal. A real estate agent is happy to assist you during every step of the homebuying process. That way, if you encounter any homebuying hurdles, this real estate professional can help you overcome these challenges without delay. Employ a real estate agent who possesses comprehensive industry experience and who makes you feel comfortable and confident as you explore the real estate market. And ultimately, your real estate agent should be able to help you find your dream home.







Tags