Archive for June 26, 2012

Can I Get Down Payment Assistance If I’ve Already Owned Before?

Can I get down payment assistance if I’ve owned a home before?  Yes.  Generally, down payment assistance is intended to help FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS purchase a home they may not other wise be able to afford.  However, the Washington State Housing Finance Commission’s definition of a first time home buyer is someone that has not owned a home in the last 3 years.

How do they know if I’ve owned before?  To make sure you haven’t owned property in the last 3 years, the commission will collect 3 years worth of tax returns.  They look at these tax returns to make sure you weren’t deducting any mortgage interest for owning a home.

So that’s all I have to prove?  Not exactly.  There are income limitations and acquisitions costs that you have to meet as well, but these can vary from county to county.  So you need to find out what the exact criteria is for your specific area.

You also need to attend a workshop!  The commission requires that you attend one of our free First Time Home Buyer workshops BEFORE you can take advantage of any of the First Time Home Buyer programs.  They just want to make sure that you are aware of the pros and cons of owning a home before you make such a major decision.

Once you attend a workshop, you will receive a certificate that will allow you to apply for any of the state funded programs.  If you’d like to attend one of our First Time Home Buyer workshops, go to our Calendar/Reservations page and register for one of our free classes.  Don’t make such a huge decision before getting educated!


How Much Do I Have to Put Down on My First House?

Do I have to put 20% down in order to purchase a home?  Twenty percent down is typically the amount needed in order to avoid mortgage insurance.  However, it’s possible to put down as little as 3%, or even 0% when using down payment assistance programs.

How much do I have to put down to get the best loan?  The loan program that is right for you will not only depend on down payment requirements, but also property type, credit rating, debt-to-income, etc.  The loan program that works best for you, may not be the same as the person buying the house across the street.

But if I want to avoid mortgage insurance, it’s better to wait and save 20% down right?  This depends on how long it would take you to save up 20%.  One of the many other variables you have to consider are interest rates.  If it would only take you 12 months to save 20% it may be worth it to wait.  But if it would take you 5 years, it might be better to buy now and take advantage of all time historically low interest rates.

Choosing your down payment amount is an important decision, and involves many variables.  If you’re considering buying your first home or condo in the Greater Seattle area, go to our Calendar/Reservations page and sign up for one of our FREE First Time Home Buyer workshops.  Don’t proceed without getting educated FIRST!


Aaaw, Do I Have to be Polite?

Do I really have to be polite to the seller when submitting my offer?  Many buyers are still under the impression that this is a buyers market, and feel that the seller should consider themselves blessed to receive their offer.  But is your offer the only one they’ve received?

Many properties are receiving multiple offers within the first few days of being on the market.  Especially if you’re a first time home buyer in the Greater Seattle area, consider your competition STIFF.  You may not be able to get away with calling the shots.

So is it even worth buying a house any more?  Being rude to the seller doesn’t mean you’re going to get a great deal, and playing nice doesn’t mean you’re going to get taken to the cleaners.  All parties can walk away from the table feeling whole and you can still get a great value.

You don’t have to beat the seller up on list price to get a great value.  Every first time home buyer should be more concerned about the VALUE of the home as opposed to the PRICE.  If a home is priced for 300K and worth 250K, did you get a great deal if you paid 280K.  Of course not!  It doesn’t really matter if you knocked 20K of the list price, you still OVERPAID by 30K!

If getting a great deal is you’re number one priority, there’s still time.  Even though we’ve seen some SLIGHT appreciation in the Greater Seattle area lately, prices have not shot up dramatically overnight, and probably won’t for another couple years.  But if you wait too long, you may find that rising prices AND rising interest rates make housing much LESS affordable than today’s equation plays out.

It’s not too Late!  If you’re a first time home buyer in the King County area, there are many factors to consider.  Don’t make this big of a decision without getting EDUCATED first.  Go to our Calendar/Reservations page and sign up for one of our FREE First Time Home Buyer workshops and peace of mind.