Imad Massabni - ERA Key - Morrison


If you want to own a home, it may be a good idea to enter the housing market sooner rather than later. That way, you can go from homebuyer to homeowner in no time at all.

Ultimately, there are three steps to buy a home:

1. Conduct an Extensive Home Search

The home search, aka "the fun part" of the homebuying journey, enables you to select a residence that matches or exceeds your expectations.

During a home search, you'll want to attend open houses and home showings. These events will allow you to take an up-close look at a variety of residences.

Of course, don't forget to check out many home listings as well. These listings offer lots of details about a home and can help you differentiate an ordinary residence from your "dream" house.

You also may want to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you kick off your home search. If you receive pre-approval for a mortgage, you can enter the real estate market with a budget in hand and narrow your home search accordingly.

2. Submit an Offer

If you find a house that you want to own, there is no need to wait to submit an offer. Because the longer that you hesitate to make a proposal, the more likely it becomes that a rival homebuyer will swoop in and acquire your dream house.

Prior to submitting a home offer, it often helps to conduct plenty of housing market research. Look at the prices of recently sold houses that are comparable to the residence that you'd like to buy. Then, you can put together a competitive offer that accounts for a house's condition as well as the current state of the housing market.

It is important to note that a seller has the right to accept, reject or counter your home offer. But if you submit a competitive initial offer on a house, you can increase the likelihood of an instant "Yes."

3. Finalize Your Purchase

After a home seller accepts your offer, it may be only a few weeks until you finalize your home purchase. At this time, you'll want to conduct a home inspection to identify any potential problem areas and address such issues as soon as possible.

When it comes to buying a home, there is no need to forgo a home inspection. If you fail to complete an inspection, you risk buying a house that has underlying issues that you may need to mitigate down the line.

In the weeks leading up to closing day, you will want to have a trusted real estate advisor at your disposal. Fortunately, real estate agents are available who can help you discover a great home and streamline the process of getting to closing day.

A real estate agent is happy to keep you up to date throughout the homebuying cycle. And if you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, this housing market professional is happy to address them.

Purchase your perfect home – use the aforementioned steps, and you can make your homeownership dreams come true.


Adding a home to the real estate market offers a great first step to sell your residence. However, before you list your house, you'll want to consider the short- and long-term ramifications.

Ultimately, there are several key decisions for home sellers to make before they list their residences, including:

1. What Are My Future Plans?

After you sell your house, where will you live? You'll need to consider life after your home sale so that you can map out the home selling journey accordingly.

For example, if you've recently accepted a new job in a new state, you may need to sell your home as quickly as possible. This also may require you to find a new place to live immediately.

On the other hand, if you already have another residence lined up, you may be able to slow down the home selling process. This will ensure you can take your time, perform plenty of housing market research and do everything possible to maximize the value of your home sale.

2. How Much Is My Home Worth?

What you originally paid for your house is unlikely to match your home's present value. As such, you'll need to understand what your home is worth today so you can price it appropriately.

A home appraisal will make it easy for you to learn about your house's strengths and weaknesses. During this appraisal, a home inspector will examine your property's interior and exterior and identify any problem areas. Then, you can better understand the true value of your house.

Don't forget to look at the prices of comparable houses in your city or town too. This can provide you with valuable housing market data and help you understand whether you're getting ready to sell a home in a buyer's or seller's market.

3. What Can I Do to Enjoy a Fast, Seamless Home Selling Experience?

The home selling journey can be tricky, particularly for those who are preparing to sell a house for the first time. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market professionals can help you enjoy a fast, seamless home selling experience.

A real estate agent boasts comprehensive housing market experience. He or she can offer tips to help you revamp your house's interior and exterior before you add your residence to the real estate market. That way, you can boost your chances of a quick home sale.

Also, a real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty throughout the home selling journey. This housing market professional will set up home showings and open houses, keep you up to date about offers on your home and negotiate with homebuyers on your behalf. And if you ever have home selling questions, a real estate agent is happy to respond to your queries immediately.

Collaborate with a real estate agent as you prepare to embark on the home selling journey, and you can move one step closer to maximizing the value of your residence.


Establishing a homebuying budget can be tough. But for those who want to secure a terrific home at an affordable price, entering the housing market with a budget in hand can make it easy to accelerate the homebuying cycle.

Now, let's take a look at three questions to consider about a homebuying budget.

1. How much money have I saved for a home?

Examine your finances and see how much money is readily available for a home purchase.

Remember, the more money that is at your disposal, the more likely it becomes that you'll be able to secure your dream residence in no time at all.

Although savings are important, it is essential to note that those who have little to no money saved still have plenty of time to get ready for the homebuying journey. And if you start saving a little bit each day, you can move closer to accomplishing your homeownership dreams.

2. Do I need to get a home loan?

In most instances, a homebuyer will need to obtain a home loan so he or she can purchase a residence. Luckily, many lenders are available to help you discover a home loan that matches or surpasses your expectations.

Meet with a variety of lenders in your area – you'll be glad you did. Each lender can provide insights into assorted home loan options, explain how each home loan works and respond to your home loan concerns and questions.

Also, it often helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you have a mortgage available when you enter the real estate market, you'll know exactly how much you can spend on a residence, thereby reducing or eliminating the temptation to overspend on a house.

3. How will my monthly expenses change after I buy a house?

Owning a home is different from renting an apartment. As such, you'll want to account for all potential expenses as you create a homebuying budget.

For example, a homeowner will be responsible for any home cable, internet and phone bills. This property owner also will need to consider any home maintenance costs like those associated with mowing the lawn in summer or removing snow from the driveway in winter.

Crafting a homebuying budget that accounts for your personal finances can be tricky. If you need additional support along the way, lenders may be able to provide expert tips to ensure you can acquire a wonderful house without exceeding your financial limitations.

Lastly, don't forget to reach out to a real estate agent for help along the homebuying journey. A real estate agent is a housing market professional who will go above and beyond the call of duty to assist you in any way possible. From setting up home showings to negotiating with home sellers on your behalf, a real estate agent will make it easy for you to secure a superior home at a budget-friendly price.

Consider the aforementioned homebuying budget questions, and you can speed up the homebuying process.


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If the thought of getting a mortgage and being in that much debt is stopping you from buying a home, plan to pay it off. Here’s how you can do it in just five to 10 years.

  • Live well below your means. If you can keep your mortgage payment to below twenty percent of your take-home pay, you’re on your way. That means that instead of buying a larger house in an upscale community, buy the nicest one you can in the neighborhood you can afford. When you do this, you’ll not only save on the payment but your energy and maintenance costs will be lower, as well.
  • Take a 15-year mortgage. Instead of the typical 30-year loan, opt for the 15-year choice. Your payments will be slightly higher, but they won’t be double. Use an online mortgage calculator to see the difference in the payment. You’ll be surprised at how much more affordable cutting the loan length in half can be.
  • Use an early mortgage pay-off calculator. Try plugging in different payment amounts to see how quickly you can pay it off. Adding as little as $100 extra each month can massively reduce the years to completion.
  • This next idea is easy if you get paid weekly or bi-weekly. Instead of making your mortgage payment once a month, pay half of it every two weeks. Using this trick allows you to make an entire extra payment each year, cutting months and years off your mortgage. If you do it to match your bi-weekly payments, you won’t even notice the additional payment out of your household budget.

Your Agent Can Help

When you’re looking for just the right house to put your plan into action, your knowledgeable real estate agent can find you the perfect one. Let them know what you’re trying to accomplish so that they match you to the right house at the right time.


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Looking to buy your first home? Unless you have a couple hundred thousand in the bank, a rich family member or a winning lottery ticket, you’re going to have to borrow money. TV ads suggest it’s as easy as clicking your phone, and in some cases it might be, but you should know what kind of financing is available and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Conventional Mortgage

In this option you go to a bank or other mortgage lender, they give you money and you buy your house. It’s straightforward and offers the lowest interest rates. It’s also the hardest to qualify for. That’s because there’s no government agency guaranteeing to step in if you default. If you don’t pay, the bank is on their own in repossessing the property and recovering what they can.

Do I qualify for a conventional mortgage?

Whether you qualify, and what rate you’re eligible for, depend largely on three factors.

  • Your FICO credit score.

  • Your Debt-Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR). A measure of your ability to pay: monthly income divided by the mortgage costs.

  • The Loan-to-Value ratio (LTV). The loan amount divided by the cost of the house. For the most favorable terms this can be no more than 80 percent, which means a 20 percent down payment. If you don’t put 20 percent down, there are other options.

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

Some lenders write conventional mortgages with as little as 5 percent down, but you’ll have to buy PMI. This covers part of the bank’s loss if you default. The premium depends on the three factors mentioned above. It can add up to hundreds to your monthly payment. You’ll never see that money again, but you get your foot in the housing door and enjoy any appreciation that takes place. As your principle goes down and LTV drops under 80 percent, you stop paying those premiums.

Second Mortgage

Sometimes you can use a second mortgage for some of the down payment. A common variation is the 80-10-10, where you put 10 percent down and borrow 80 and 10 percent on the first and second mortgage, respectively. The rate for the second mortgage will be higher but the overall monthly payment might be lower than with PMI.

Guaranteed Mortgages

FHA and VA mortgages. With these a government agency guarantees the loan. FHA’s can have a down payment as low as 3.5 percent, and VA’s (available to veterans) might have no down payment at all. Interest rates are higher than conventional mortgages.

Floating Rate Mortgages

Most mortgages have an interest rate fixed for the life of the loan. With floating rates, there is an introductory period of a few years with a rate lower than a fixed rate mortgage. After that, the rate varies at a predetermined percentage above the prime rate. This can get you into a home with a low initial monthly payment, and is designed for people who expect their income to increase significantly before the higher rate sets in.

Down Payment Assistance

A federal program, the Freddie Mac Home Possible Advantage, offers 97 percent loan and down payment assistance to low and moderate income buyers. Also, you can contact your state’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to see what assistance is available at the state and local level.