The Norton Group, Inc.



Posted by The Norton Group, Inc. on 1/17/2016

OrganizedWhether you buy your first home later in life, or directly from college, buying your first home is a major milestone in your life.  For that reason, there are things you need to be knowledgeable about before your purchase is complete. You will want to safeguard yourself so you know that you are getting a home and a loan that you can afford. Here are a few tips from mortgage and real estate pros to help prepare you for the biggest purchase of your life. Using an Agent If you are a buyer, then there is no reason not to use a real estate professional. It does not cost you any more money to hire an agent. That agent will do more than find you that perfect house. You will discover that after you find a house is when you will need that agent the most.  The agent will use their expertise to present your offer to the seller and then address issues that may arise between contract and closing. House Hunting Remember, location, location, location. This is very important when buying a house.  Location plays a big part in determining the market value of the home. Before you start the house hunting process, make sure you know what neighborhood is a good location for you. Also, it would be good to have an idea of what style home you are looking for. Real estate moves quickly, so if you see a property that you love, you should move on it before someone else does. Find a Loan that Works for Your It sure can be tricky business trying decide what kind of loan is right for you.  There are many different types of loans that you should be aware of.  There is an Adjustable rate mortgage which has an interest rate that is linked to an economic index. So as the index changes your interest rate and payments may go up or down. There is also a 30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage as well as a 15-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage. Some state and county maximum loan amount restrictions may apply. Home Buyer Alternatives for First Timer Saving for a first home can sometime seem like it’s a hill that too steep, but don’t worry there are assistance programs that can help. The Federal Housing Administration offers loans to people with a credit score as low as 640, low down payments and down payment assistance. There are also VA and USDA loans: Certain active members of the military and veterans as well as qualifying residents of designated rural areas can qualify for a 0% down-payment housing loans that are free of mortgage insurance fees. How Much Do You Have to Put Down? It really depends on what type of loan you have. If you have a conventional loan then you may have to put as much as 20% down. It is possible to put 5% down on a conventional loan if you don’t mind paying mortgage insurance.  If you go with the FHA loan you will need at least 3.5 % down.  For people who are relying on others to help with down payments, an FHA loan may be a good option. First time home buyers need to look around and know that there are a multitude of down payment assistance offers by state or local governments. Closing cost: There can be a lot of hidden fees in closing costs; first time home buyers should be aware of these costs.  These fees are typically included in the closing costs, including fees for commissions, appraisals, inspections, certifications and surveying.  There will also be fees for government record changes, tax and title services and transfer taxes.





Posted by The Norton Group, Inc. on 1/10/2016

The story is always the same, buying a home is always a good investment. It doesn't matter the study, the year, the market, the results are always the same. Owning a home is a good investment. Homeownership provides both economic and psychological benefits. A survey released earlier this year by the magazine Better Homes and Gardens found that eight in 10 respondents said homeownership is still a good investment and believe owning a home is a smart financial move and a source of pride. Here are some results of the 2,500 people surveyed online:

  • 86% of home owners still feel owning a home is a good investment.
  • 85% feel “owning a home is one of their proudest accomplishments.”
  • 69% of Americans who don’t currently own a home agree with the statement, “No matter what happens in the U.S. housing market, owning a home is still an important goal in my life.”
  • 68% of Americans plan to spend money on their homes in the next six months, with roughly half (49%) expecting to pay up to $1,000.
 





Posted by The Norton Group, Inc. on 10/25/2015

The real estate market is on the move and people are moving. Finding a mover that you can trust with your possessions can be a difficult task. Here is what you need to know when looking to hire a mover and have a worry-free move: 1. Make a list Make a complete list of what you want moved. A complete inventory of what you will be moving will make it easier to assess estimates. Insist on a firm price from your mover based on your list. This will make it easier check that everything has arrived at your destination. 2. Check your insurance Check with your insurance company to make sure your policy covers your property while moving. Moving companies do not provide actual insurance. Many movers offer protection which usually only covers between 30 and 60 cents per pound for lost or damaged items. 3. Do your due diligence Verify your movers licenses, read online reviews, and be sure you know what each mover is offering in the quoted price. Once you've done your homework create a list of prospects. You may also want to read Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move put out by the U.S. Department of Transportation for more helpful hints.  





Posted by The Norton Group, Inc. on 8/23/2015

One of the biggest things that can impact your ability to get a loan for a home is your credit score. Credit scores measure the risk a lender may take when deciding on a mortgage. If your credit score is not where you want it to be have no fear it's never too late to become credit worthy. Your credit score is also known as your FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) score, it is one of the tools that lenders use to evaluate a borrower's ability or likelihood to repay a loan. Credit scores range from 300 to 850 points. Credit scores over 720 are often considered excellent.  Scores of 680 – 719 are considered good. Scores that fall between 620-679 are questionable and typically require more review by the lender. A score under 619 usually disqualifies you from getting the best rates or even a loan at all. Here are five ways to raise your credit score: 1. Obtain your credit score from the three major credit score reporting agencies. They are Equifax, Experian and Transunion. 2. Review your report and look for any discrepancies. Your report will also give you a good idea of why your score may be low. According to myFICO.com, credit score calculation is based on five key components: payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, new credit and types of credit used. 3. Come up with a plan to improve the five key components. Payment history carries the most weight it makes up 35% of your score. So be sure to pay your bills on time. 30% of your score is determined by the use of your available credit. Only use 30% of your maximum credit limit for each credit card and revolving accounts, using anything over that hurts your credit score. 4. If you have any past-due bills, judgments or collection accounts make arrangements to pay them as soon as possible. Some creditors may accept a portion of an amount due as payment in full. 5. Minimize your requests for new credit. Credit inquiries make up 10% of your score and can ultimately bring it down.





Posted by The Norton Group, Inc. on 8/2/2015

Are you looking for a deal when buying your next home? Buying a fixer-upper home just might be the way to go but there are some important things to know before you buy. These helpful hints can help you save time, money and a lot of headaches when buying a fixer-upper. Set a budget: You need to know how much money you can afford to spend. You will want to factor in the price of the property plus the cost of the renovations. Remember to plan for the unknown, add at least 10% to it for "overruns". Most projects never seem to go as planned. Plan ahead: Buying a fixer-upper requires more planning. When looking at potential homes you will want to make a list of renovations. Try to come up with an estimated cost of the renovations. You will also want to identify whether or not you have the expertise to do the renovations or if you will need to hire a contractor. Get a home inspection: There are some things that are unseen to the untrained eye. A good home inspection will be able to tell you all of the needed repairs and potential pitfalls. Remember buying a fixer-upper is an investment. Follow the tips on this list and you will be prepared for the project of buying, renovating and owning a fixer-upper.