Tag Archives: Real Estate

5 Important Questions When Choosing Your First Home

Moving into your own place can be exciting and frightening at the same time. Stock Yards Bank & Trust suggests considering the following questions when choosing your own home.

1. How much money do you have saved up?

Start with an evaluation of your financial health. Figure out how much money you have for a down payment or deposit on a rental. Down payments are typically 5 to 20 percent of the price of the home. Security deposits on rentals are usually about one month of rent and more if you have a pet. But be sure to keep enough in savings for an emergency fund. It’s a good idea to have three to six months of living expenses to cover unexpected costs.

2. How much debt do you have?

Consider all of your current and expected financial obligations like your car payment and insurance, credit card debt and student loans. Make sure you will be able to make all the payments in addition to the cost of your new home. Aim to keep total rent or mortgage payments plus utilities to less than 25 to 30 percent of your gross monthly income. Recent regulatory changes limit debt to income (DTI) ratio on most loans to 43 percent.

 3. What is your credit score?

A high credit score indicates strong creditworthiness. Both renters and homebuyers can expect to have their credit history examined. A low credit score can keep you from qualifying for the rental you want or a low interest rate on your mortgage loan. If your credit score is low, you may want to delay moving into a new home and take steps to raise your score. For tips on improving your credit score, visit aba.com/consumers.

4. Have you factored in all the costs? Create a hypothetical budget for your new home.

Find the average cost of utilities in your area, factor in gas, electricity, water and cable. Find out if you will have to pay for parking or trash pickup. Consider the cost of yard maintenance and other basic maintenance costs like replacing the air filter every three months. If you are planning to buy a home, factor in real estate taxes, mortgage insurance and possibly a home owner association fee. Renters should consider the cost of rental insurance.

 5. How long will you stay?

Generally, the longer you plan to live someplace, the more it makes sense to buy. Over time, you can build equity in your home. On the other hand, renters have greater flexibility to move and fewer maintenance costs. Carefully consider your current life and work situation and think about how long you want to stay in your new home.

Stock Yards Bank & Trust offers a wide variety of mortgage services for new and repeat home buyers. Visit our website for more information or contact us at (502) 582-2571. 

 

Resource Information Provided by the American Bankers Association

First-Time Homebuyers: 6 Tips to Save for the House of Your Dreams

According to a 2015 BMO Harris report, 52 percent of Americans plan to buy a home in the next five years.  Saving for a down payment, typically between 5 to 20 percent of the home’s value, is one of the biggest challenges for those aspiring homebuyers. The American Bankers Association Foundation is highlighting six tips to help consumers cut costs and start saving.

“A down payment is often the largest single payment a consumer makes in their lifetime and saving for it isn’t easy,” said Corey Carlisle, executive director of the ABA Foundation. “However, with a few changes, consumers can put themselves on track to make their homeownership dream a reality.”

The ABA Foundation offers prospective homebuyers these saving strategies:

Develop a budget & timeline. Start by determining how much you’ll need for a down payment. Create a budget and calculate how much you can realistically save each month – that will help you gauge when you’ll be ready to transition from renter to homeowner.

Establish a separate savings account. Set up a separate savings account exclusively for your down payment and make your monthly contributions automatic. By keeping this money separate, you’ll be less likely to tap into it when you’re tight on cash. If you received a tax refund, consider putting all or a portion into this account.

Shop around to reduce major monthly expenses. It’s a good idea to check rates for your car insurance, renter’s insurance, health insurance, cable, internet or cell phone plan. There may be deals or promotions available that allow you to save hundreds of dollars by adjusting your contracts.

Monitor your spending. With online banking, keeping an eye on your spending is easier than ever. Track where most of your discretionary income is going. Identify areas where you could cut back (e.g. nice meals out, vacations, etc.) and instead put that money into savings.

Celebrate savings milestones. Saving enough for a down payment can be daunting. To avoid getting discouraged, break it up into smaller goals and reward yourself when you reach each one. If you need to save $30,000 total, consider treating yourself to a nice meal every $5,000 saved. This will help you stay motivated throughout the process.

Look into state and local home-buying programs. Many states, counties and local governments operate programs for first-time homebuyers. Some programs offer housing discounts, while others provide down payment loans or grants. Stock Yard’s Mortgage Banking Group can help you determine what types of offers are available in your area.

Information provided by the American Bankers Association.

How to Buy Your First Place Like a Pro

So you want to buy your first home. Congratulations! Now, where to start? Melinda Golde from our Mortgage Banking Group was able to share some helpful tips for those looking to buy their first home.

Check Your Credit

Your credit score is one of the most important factors when purchasing a new home. It can affect the credit decision on the loan as well as the actual cost of the loan – the lower your credit score, the higher your interest rate may be. Your homeowner’s insurance premium can also be affected by your credit score Before applying, review your credit by accessing your information at annualcreditreport.com. Make sure there are no mistakes, unpaid or past-due accounts or collection accounts. If you have items on your credit report that need to be repaired, or you just have limited credit experience, you will need some time to work through and correct those issues – you should allow at least six months before shopping for a new home.

Organize Your Documents

As part of the home-buying process, your mortgage lender will require you to document your income and your assets. Make sure you have your two most recent pay stubs, the previous two years’ W-2s and tax returns, as well as your two most recent bank statements (all pages). Buying a home can be a long process, but having your documents organized can help.

Determine How Much Down Payment You Will Have

There are many loan programs available that do not require a down payment of 20% of the purchase price. Some programs require as little as 3% down with 0% down options available for rural properties or active and retired military personnel. You may even be eligible for down payment assistance. (A down payment less than 20% may require mortgage insurance that could affect the payment).

Review Your Cash Flow

Determine where your money is going each month and then compare that to how much you make (gross monthly pay). You may even go as far as tracking your spending for a couple of months. What kind of house payment are you comfortable with based on your current income and liabilities?

Get Expert Advice

A pre-approval is a valuable tool to have as you begin your search for your new home. At Stock Yards, there is no charge or upfront fee for this service. After you are pre-approved, work with a real estate agent that has knowledge of the area in which you’d like to purchase. Give the agent an idea of the type of home you are looking for and the amenities that are important to you, and they will do the leg-work.

Make sure to check out our website for more information regarding mortgage services. Just purchased your first place? What are some tips that we left off?