Jane Cheetham - RE/MAX Acclaim



Posted by Jane Cheetham on 3/17/2020

For those who want to simplify the homebuying process, crafting a budget is ideal. Because if you tailor your house search to your finances, you can eliminate the risk of spending beyond your means to acquire your dream residence.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you budget for the homebuying journey.

1. Analyze Your Financial Situation

Request a copy of your credit report – you'll be glad you did. You are eligible to receive a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Once you have your credit report, you can assess your credit score and take steps to improve it as needed.

Getting your credit report can help you identify outstanding debt and other financial issues that may make it tough to acquire a house. If you can correct these issues today, you can eliminate the risk that they could impact your ability to buy your dream residence in the near future.

2. Consider Your Homebuying Expenses

The price of a home is one of many financial considerations that a buyer will need to evaluate during the property buying journey. Fortunately, if you map out your homebuying expenses, you can ensure that you'll have the finances available to cover these costs as you pursue your dream home.

For example, a property inspection may be used to assess a house's condition before you finalize a home purchase. This inspection will require you to hire a professional home inspector, so you will need to make sure you have the money available to cover the cost of this homebuying expense.

You should consider home closing costs as well. And if you start saving for home closing fees and other homebuying expenses, you won't have to worry about scrambling to get the money to cover these costs as you navigate the property buying journey.

3. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Pre-approval for a mortgage is a must, regardless of your homebuying goals. If you meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, you can analyze your home financing options and select a mortgage that suits you perfectly.

Banks and credit unions are happy to teach you about different types of mortgages and how each type of mortgage works. Plus, if you have any mortgage questions, banks and credit unions are ready to respond to your queries right away.

As you prepare to pursue your dream house, you also may want to hire a real estate agent. In addition to helping you streamline your search for your ideal residence, a real estate agent can put you in touch with the top mortgage professionals in your area, help you plan ahead for various homebuying expenses and much more.

If you want to conduct a successful home search, it may be a good idea to prepare a homebuying budget. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can craft a homebuying budget so you can accelerate the process of acquiring your dream house.




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Posted by Jane Cheetham on 1/21/2020

As a first-time homebuyer, it is important to understand what it takes to discover your dream residence as quickly as possible. By doing so, you can streamline the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

What does it take for a first-time homebuyer to seamlessly navigate the housing market? Here are three tips that every first-time homebuyer needs to know.

1. Make a Homebuying Checklist

The definition of the "perfect" house differs from homebuyer to homebuyer. As such, a first-time homebuyer should allocate the necessary time and resources to determine what he or she wants to find in the ideal home. That way, a first-time homebuyer will have no trouble finding a house that matches or surpasses his or her expectations.

With a homebuying checklist, a first-time homebuyer can move one step closer to making his or her property ownership dreams come true. This checklist can help a homebuyer differentiate between home "must-haves" and "wants" so he or she can narrow a home search accordingly.

Furthermore, a first-time homebuyer can update a property buying checklist as he or she begins to check out houses. And if a homebuyer evaluates available residences, this property buyer can update his or her checklist as needed.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

A first-time homebuyer likely wants to purchase a house as quickly as possible. Fortunately, getting pre-approved for a mortgage can help a homebuyer move through the property buying process without delay.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, a first-time homebuyer should try to meet with several banks and credit unions. Each meeting will allow a homebuyer to learn about assorted mortgage options and select a mortgage that corresponds to his or her finances.

Moreover, a first-time homebuyer should be unafraid to ask plenty of questions when he or she meets with potential lenders. This will allow a homebuyer to make an informed decision about a mortgage.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to buying a house for the first time, a homebuyer should seek out expert support. Lucky for you, many real estate agents are available nationwide, and these housing market professionals can make it simple for you to purchase your ideal house.

A real estate agent understands the challenges associated with buying a house for the first time. He or she will teach a first-time homebuyer about these challenges and ensure this property buyer is prepared to take a diligent approach to purchasing a home.

Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings, offer honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations and negotiate with home sellers on a homebuyer's behalf. This housing market professional will even keep a homebuyer up to date about new houses, ensuring homebuyers can pounce on opportunities to acquire great houses as soon as they become available.

For a first-time homebuyer, there is no need to leave anything to chance. But with the aforementioned tips, a first-time homebuyer can accelerate the homebuying process and improve his or her chances of purchasing a stellar house at an affordable price.




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Posted by Jane Cheetham on 1/14/2020

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Once you decide you’re in the market for a new home, one of the first decisions you’ll make is whether you should hire a real estate agent to shop for a house or go out your own. While buying a new home without a professional representative is possible, there is no disadvantage to working with one, here’s why.

It Doesn’t Cost You Anything

Generally, the seller pays the commission fees to any agents representing both sides of the sale. From a buyer’s perspective, they really have nothing to lose by working with an agent since they won’t have to pay any out-of-pocket costs.

Additionally, REALTORS® are members of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), which means they are bound to adhere to a specific code of ethics. This means you’ll have a representative who has pledged to abide by this code and approach every transaction honestly.

Bring Expertise to the House-Hunting Process

As a buyer, unless you’re fully versed in the finer points associated with real estate purchases, along with a certain level of legal expertise in contractual law, you’re better protected if you work with a professional agent. Agents are well-versed in the most up-to-date information associated with the housing market. Skills trained agents bring to the house-hunting process include:

  • Understanding of all the variables associated with real estate purchases.
  • Strong familiarity with regions, towns, and specific neighborhoods.
  • Ability to instinctively know if and when homes are over or under-priced.
  • Access to “pocket listings” not available to the open market or even to a large number of agents.
  • Keen ability to pinpoint a home’s potential problems or flaws not visible to the average buyer.
  • Essentially, working with an experienced and licensed professional means you’ll have someone on your side who can do the bulk of the leg work while helping you find the house of your dreams.

    Strong Knowledge in the Bidding Process

    Investing in a major purchase, such as a home, usually comes with some stresses, along with a few bumps along the road. Once you reach the negotiation and bidding stage, your agent can ensure these go as smoothly as possible. They bring many valuable attributes to the table when it comes to sealing a deal.

  • Ability to share strong negotiation techniques once a house is found (purchase price, closing costs, repairs, etc.).
  • Thorough knowledge in appraisals, title searches and inspections.
  • Skilled in navigating the burdensome paperwork associated with real estate purchases.
  • Able to quickly identify any potential problems that might affect or delay the closing process.
  • Buying or selling a home can be an emotional process. An agent can make sure negotiations are conducted with a levelheaded approach to make certain a fair deal is made.

    In addition to the above reasons, it’s important to remember, your real estate agent is always on your side. They can provide you with both guidance and objectivity as you seek to find your new home.




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    Posted by Jane Cheetham on 12/3/2019

    The US government has been helping Americans achieve their goal of homeownership for decades. Through programs offered by the Federal Housing Authority, the USDA, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, millions of Americans have been able to afford a home who would have otherwise struggled.

    The focus of today’s post is one such service: loans offered through the USDA Rural Development program.

    If you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future but are worried about being able to save up enough for a down payment or build your credit score in time, USDA loans could be a viable option.

    Let’s take a look at some of the common questions people have about USDA loans:

    Do I have to live in the middle of nowhere to get a USDA loan?

    The short answer is “no.” rural development loan eligibility for your area is laid out on a map provided by the USDA. Most of the suburbs outside of major cities, as well as nearly all rural areas, are covered by the rural development program.

    Can I qualify for a USDA loan if I’ve previously owned a home?

    Yes. You may be eligible for a loan as long as you’re not the current owner of a home that was purchased through the rural development program. So, for example, if you own a home financed through the USDA and wanted to buy a second home and rent out the first one, you wouldn’t be able to finance your second home through the USDA.

    How does the USDA loan guarantee work?

    When you buy a home, a lender asks you to make a down payment. If you don’t have a down payment, the government (USDA, VA, or FHA) insures the down payment on your home rather than you paying it up front.

    Will I have to pay mortgage insurance?

    Unlike other subsidized loans, rural development loans require a “guarantee fee” rather than PMI (private mortgage insurance). The guarantee fee is 1% the total mortgage amount and this can typically be financed into the loan (so you don’t have to pay up front). In addition to the guarantee fee, USDA loans also charge an annual premium for the lifetime of a loan.

    What are the qualifications for a USDA loan?

    To find full eligibility information, complete the survey on the USDA’s eligibility website to find out if you qualify. However, the general qualifications are:

    • U.S. citizenship

    • Buying a home in a qualifying area

    • 24 months of income history

    • A credit score of 640 or higher for streamlined processing

    • Income high enough so that your monthly payments do not exceed 29% of your monthly earnings

    What is the direct loan program?

    The USDA really offers multiple urban development loans. The guarantee program, for which most single families utilize, and the direct loan program. Direct loans are designed for families who have the greatest need. You can also find out if you’re eligible for a direct loan by filling out the questionnaire on their website.







    Posted by Jane Cheetham on 8/27/2019

    There are a number of steps involved in buying a home. One of the many important things you should do before closing on a new home is to get the house properly inspected.

    Buyers sometimes avoid getting a professional inspection for a number of reasons. Some are on a tight budget and want to save a few dollars. Others have time constraints and want to close as soon as possible. And, many buyers believe that omitting an inspection is a way to show trust in the previous owner.

    In this article, we’ll talk about why getting a home inspection is such an important part before closing on a real estate deal.

    Inspection costs

    Closing on a home comes with a number of expenses. Application fees, origination fees, underwriting fees… the list goes on. If you’re buying a home, you might be tempted to opt out of getting the property inspected to save money.

    The cost of an inspection ranges anywhere from $200 for smaller homes, to $400 or more for large homes. However, the cost of not getting your home inspected can be much greater. Even if you’re knowledgeable when it comes to houses, there are a number of things that only the experts can diagnose.

    Having a professional inspect the home is the only way to ensure that there aren’t any issues that will come back to haunt you (and your wallet) in the months and years to come.

    Saving time

    Many buyers are eager to close the deal and begin moving into their new home as soon as possible. Sometimes buyers need to vacate their old home before a certain date, others try to time their move around holidays or school vacations.

    There are other ways, however, to make sure you get the house inspected in time. First, make sure you’ve included a home inspection in your purchase agreement. This will avoid wasted times debating whether or not you are entitled to inspect the home.

    Next, call multiple inspectors in your area for quotes and availability. Delaying this step can make you lose time, and inspectors might charge you more if they have to squeeze you into their schedule.

    The best time to schedule an inspection is as soon as your offer is accepted.

    Maintaining a good relationship with the seller

    It may seem like an act of diplomacy to waive a home inspection. In reality, however, nearly all sellers will understand that you are simply doing due diligence to make sure the process runs smoothly for both of you.

    Sellers might sometimes offer you the findings of a previous inspection that they had done. In this case, it’s still important to have your own inspection done so that you can walk through the home with the inspector and listen to their feedback. You can’t be sure of the accuracy of any old reports, and the previous inspector is only accountable to the seller.


    Having a home professionally inspected is almost always a good idea. It can save you time and money in repairs that could have been avoided.





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