6 Steps to Be Ready for Home Ownership

6 Steps to Be Ready for Home Ownership


Have you been dreaming about the possibility of buying the perfect home for your family? Many people want to buy a home, but they assume that they won’t be ready for a few years because they don’t have a down payment for the purchase. Instead of waiting for the stars to align, take control of your finances. Homeownership might be closer than you think if you make these changes:

#1: Downsize for a Year

Most people agree that rent is the biggest hindrance to the family budget. If you are trying to save for a down payment, look at options to live in a smaller rental property for a year so that you can reduce your monthly expenses. Not only will you decrease your rent payment, but you will also save money on utilities for a smaller apartment.

#2: Look at the Little Costs

$5 here and $10 there might not seem like much. But, these small costs can really add up over the course of a month. Look for the smaller expenses that keep popping up, such as monthly subscriptions or coffee runs. Find ways to cut the expenses, such as making coffee at home or washing your clothes instead of taking them to the dry cleaner.

#3: Essential vs. Wants

Evaluate your spending and decide on the essential items. Each time you are ready to make a purchase, ask yourself an important question: do you want the item, or do you need the item? Look for areas where you can make a few sacrifices to save money.

#4: Pick Up Extra Work

Are there any opportunities to pick up extra hours at work? Or, maybe you can find another way to earn money in the evenings or on the weekends. These sacrifices are worth the effort, and you will be grateful that you put in the extra time when you are living in a home of your own.

#5: Negotiate Bills and Expenses

Call all of the companies that receive payments from you each month: cell phone provider, cable TV, credit cards, and insurance plans. Talk to the providers about options to reduce your costs. If the company thinks that they are going to lose you as a customer, then they are often willing to work with you on the price. For example, request a lower credit card interest rate in exchange for keeping the card open instead of cancelling it.

Get Home Buying Advice from the Pros

Here at DUFFY Realty, we are working hard to make it easy for you to buy a home for your family. Not only do we help you save money with our flat-fee real estate commissions, but we will also help you find a beautiful property that fits your budget. Call us right away to learn more about the ways that we can help: (678) 318-1700

How to Buy a Home, Even with Bad Credit

How to Buy a Home, Even with Bad Credit

Are you anxious to move into your dream home, but you are worried about the way your credit score will impact your ability to finance the purchase? If you are getting ready to buy your dream home, then you need to look at mortgage options that are available. A bad credit score doesn’t mean that you won’t be approved for a loan. But, you might need to work with the lender to meet the financing requirements.

Here are four steps that you can follow to buy a house, even if you have a low credit score:

Offer a Big Down Payment

People with a credit score under 580 definitely need to have a large down payment ready when they want to purchase a home. Even if your credit score is a little higher, you still need to be prepared with a larger than normal down payment to compensate for your low credit score.

If possible, aim for a down payment of at least 20%. This effort shows the lender that you have the ability to carry the loan and it helps to lower your loan-to-value ratio.

Have a Conversation with the Lender

Many financing institutions use computerized systems that provide an automatic approval or denial. But, just because the computer says that you are ineligible, doesn’t mean that you can’t get the financing that you need. Lenders have the option to underwrite the financing manually.

During this conversation, you need to show financial stability despite the low credit score. Provide proof of on-time payments for the past year or a savings account with at least six months of expenses for emergencies. You will also need to be prepared to explain the conditions that caused your credit score to be so low.

Find Private Financing

If you are unable to get a home loan through a financial institution, then you might consider private options. Some sellers will offer a lease-to-buy contract. You will be able to move into the home and lease the property for a while to rebuild your credit history. Then, the sale can be finalized, and you can take ownership of the home.

Another private option is to find a family member or friend who is willing to lend you the money. A private loan can come from any person or company with the money to pay for the property. Before the transaction, the terms will be negotiated to ensure that it is a fair deal for both parties. This financing could be risky to your relationship, but you don’t have to meet certain credit requirements for the loan.

If you are ready to rebuild your credit so that you can buy a home, then you need to talk to our team at DUFFY Realty. We can refer you to the financial professionals who will help you qualify for the mortgage that you need. Contact us for more information about buying a real estate property in Atlanta: (678) 318-1700

Tips to Help You Breeze through the Closing Process When Buying a Home

buying a home in Atlantaa

After all of the searching and effort that it took to find your dream home, it is finally closing time and you are almost a new homeowner! Closing on a home is an exciting time, because you are seeing your dreams turn into reality. But, it can also be a stressful time as well, especially if this is your first time to buy a home and you don’t know anything about the closing process.

It is not uncommon for small problems to pop up during a home closing, which is why you need to prepare in advance. Here are a few things to consider to make your home closing a breeze:

Prepare in Advance

It is stressful to be rushing through paperwork on the day of the closing, and a rushed job will increase the changes that something will be missed. You need to make sure that you have all of the necessary paperwork and your signature has been placed in the right locations. When you are closing on a home, you will need:

  • Mortgage agreement paperwork
  • Inspection reports
  • Home appraisal
  • Estimates or reports for the home
  • Ownership transfer contract
  • Any other applicable documents

Even if you don’t use every piece of information that you bring, it is better to be over-prepared to make sure that you can avoid any potential delays. These documents should be assembled at least a few days in advance, to ensure that you have time to collect any additional information if needed.

Real Estate Agent Support

Many people look at the stacks of paperwork and feel completely overwhelmed at the idea of sorting through everything and understanding the implications of each document. Instead of trying to go through this process on your own, it is much easier to have a trusted real estate agent by your side. An agent is familiar with the process and they understand the steps that are occurring, helping you to have a smoother sailing through the closing.

Some home buyers want to save money by skipping the real estate agent and trying to handle everything on their own. But, a do-it-yourself approach can be a big mistake for such a significant purchase, and you would be smart to have a real estate agent available to help. If you are concerned about the costs, find an agent who charges a flat-fee commission instead of the standard percent commission structure.

Negotiate Closing Costs

Closing costs are unavoidable, but there are ways to minimize the fees associated with the closing when you are buying a home. Talk with your real estate agent to assess the closing costs that you will be paying, and identify the costs and are really necessary. You can view a list of fees that you will be paying so that you can see the breakdown of costs.

Are you ready to buy a home? Call Duffy Realty of Atlanta, and we will help every step of the way: (678) 318-1700

Buying a Home? How to Find Your Dream House

buying a home in Atlanta

It is an exciting time to be searching for the home of your dreams, but some home buyers feel a little overwhelmed at the idea of finding the perfect home for their family. There is no reason to stress about the home buying process though, because it can be a fun and easy process when you are working with the right team.

These are a few things that you should do when buying a home:

Make a List of Priorities

Take some time to make a list of the most important features for your home. Make sure that you write down the details so that you can easily share the list with your real estate agent or anyone else who is helping you with the home buying process. This list can provide clarity about the type of home that you are looking for, in order to narrow down the homes that you visit.

Depending on your budget and requirements, it might not be possible to find every item on your list. But, a good real estate agent is well-connected in the industry and they will be able to help you find something that is close as possible.

Consider Your Budget

It’s easy to get carried away with the budget when you are trying to buy the home of your dreams. Some people make a sacrifice and stretch their budget a little more than they can afford, justifying the fact that they will be living in the home for the rest of their lives.

The problem with a high price tag is the added stress that it will cause every month when it comes time to pay the mortgage. So, identify a comfortable budget that you can realistically meet, and talk with your real estate agent about ways that you can stretch the budget in order to get the best house possible for the amount of money that you will be spending.

Old or New: Which is Better?

There are advantages and disadvantages to buying both old and new homes, and you need to consider your preferences to find something that you love. Some people enjoy the classic charm that comes from owning an older home, while other people prefer to have other home features that are more available in newer construction.

You might consider touring a few different types of homes to see the options and then pick a home that best matches your priority list. Your agent can help you identify homes of all ages that are a good match for your preferences.

If you want to learn how to buy a home, then contact Duffy Realty of Atlanta for more information about the best process. Our experienced team can help you find the home of your dreams, and we will be available every step of the way to answer your questions and help with anything that you need. Call us anytime at: (678) 318-1700

Buying a home in the summer during a holiday weekend

A holiday weekend is a perfect time for buying a home in the summer.

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Top 10 First Time Homebuyer Mistakes!

Top 10 First Time Home buyer Mistakes! by Ted Jenkin of oXYGen Financlial 1.Buying more house than you can afford. Typically, you don’t want your mortgage payment to be more than 28% to 34% of your monthly income. For example, if your monthly income is $5,000, a total mortgage payment of $1,500 will be in the ball park. Of course, you need to include all of your overall debt payments which should never be more than 40% to 45% of your overall bills.

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What If The House You Are Buying Has Land Around It That Is Not Built On?

Okay, so what should you do if the house you are buying has vacant land around it? Should you just say, great, no one lives here so we have more privacy? No, you should not is the answer. This land could be a potential problem for you in the future and you need to know what is going on before you buy so that you can make an educated guess on whether your property value is going to go up or down in the future when you attempt to sell your property. Continue reading

Talk To The Neighbors That Live Around The Home You Want To Purchase – They Can Provide Valuable Information

First lets start with why you should talk to the neighbors before you buy a home. Neighbors, although they may attempt to not be nosey, you can bet that most of them know everything that you need to know about the home you are looking at as well as the neighborhood. One time in my own neighborhood, although I did not know the people that lived there, I noticed that there were people at the house one day with hazmat masks and suits on for over one week unloading and cleaning the house. Had the new buyers asked anyone in the neighborhood about the house, they would have had more ammunition in negotiation after they knew this information.Continue reading

Georgia Home Buyers – $15,000 Tax Credit to Home Buyers – Duffy Realty

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved an amendment to the economic stimulus bill by U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., that gives a $15,000 tax credit to anyone who buys a home in the next year.

Isakson’s amendment would provide a direct tax credit to any home buyer who buys any home. The amount of the tax credit would be $15,000 or 10 percent of the purchase price, whichever is less. Purchases must be made within one year of the legislation’s enactment, and the tax credit would not have to be repaid.

The amendment would allow taxpayers to claim the credit on their 2008 income tax return. It also seeks to prevent misuse by only allowing purchases of a principle residence and by recapturing the credit if the home is sold within two years of purchase. The amendment would sunset the current $7,500 housing tax credit on the date of enactment.

“It is rare that we have a road map to success in times of difficulty, but this country has once before realized a housing crisis every bit as bad as the one we have today and economic troubles every bit as dangerous,” Isakson said. “We have a pervasive housing problem, and we have a historical precedent that works. I am proud this Senate has joined together, learned from history and repeated a method that worked by adopting this amendment.”

In the mid-1970s, America faced a similar housing crisis when a period of easy credit and loose underwriting flooded the market with new construction. Interest rates rose, the economy slowed and America was left with a three-year supply of vacant homes. Congress responded by passing a $2,000 tax credit for anyone purchasing a new home for their principal residence. Isakson said he believes the results were clear and swift as home values stabilized, housing inventory dropped and the market recovered.

Isakson has not made a decision about his vote on the overall economic stimulus legislation.


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How to Buy An Atlanta Condo

Just as with anything else, buying a condo is a process not to be reckoned with lightly. This article with enlighten you to the steps necessary when you are buying a condo. It will also give you some insight on what is the most important thing to ask yourself during the process. Whether your condo is in a high rise or a mid-rise single story or a cluster community, all of these situations have common threads of both annoyance and joy. Here are the things to think about and to do during the process.

1. After you have identified the building that you like, go there at least 3 times at different times of the day.

2. Speak to as many neighbors as you can, asking them the obvious questions:
A. How is living here?
B. Are there any units that I should not consider due to damage or noise?
C. Do you have any political problems here with the HOA?
D. Do you have any assessments coming up in the future that have not been voted on yet?
E. What is the pool and tennis area like on a summer day?
F. How is the parking for both residents and guests?
G. If it is a guarded building, how are the guards? Are they alert?
H. If there is anything else that you need to know.

3. Check out the age and condition of the common areas of the buildings. Roofs, streets, parking facility, paint and exterior, pool and tennis, fitness center etc… Assessments can be given at any time if the association has not collected enough money, and they can be upwards of $20,000 per unit.

4. Check out the financials of the HOA. Make sure that they have a surplus of funds before you buy.

5. Check out the covenants of the HOA. Look for restrictive use of your lifestyle. And, make sure that there is a noise ordinance and that there is a process that you would follow to stop the excessive noise that gets results.

6. Check out the rental policy in the covenants. If you are going to be restricted by whether or not you can rent or sublease your unit, you need to know this up-front.

7. Get the current rental register and see how many of the units are rented. Make your own decision if this is okay.

8. Get the history of the HOA fees and determine if they have been raised consistently or not. Compare this monthly HOA fees with other complexes that you have looked at. Remember, this fee can be raised at anytime. But, with that being said, most HOA fees include a lot of services that you would have to pay for if you purchased a single family residence so don’t let the fee scare you too much. Just do your homework.

9. Give yourself enough time to look over this stuff either after you have written a contract or preferably before.

10. Most important, don’t buy until you have spoken to all of the neighbors that border your unit, top, bottom and sides. The biggest complaint that I get from people who live in a condo is that they don’t like the energy of the neighbor or that the neighbor has weird hours or that they are loud, or worse for some people, they smoke and it stinks up the hall and ultimately their unit.

Make sure that you buy what you expect you are buying and you too can live happily ever after in a condo with less physical responsibility and access to more social events.