The Varano Realty Group - Needham MA Real Estate


Posted by Adriano Varano on 9/6/2018

FHA loans have long been a valuable resource for Americans who want to fulfill their goal of homeownership but who donít have the benefit of a lengthy credit history and equity.

If youíre hoping to buy a home in the near future but want to explore all of your options in terms of financing, this article is for you.

Today weíre going to talk about FHA loans and how to know if you qualify for one.

What are FHA loans?

FHA loans are issued by private mortgage lenders across the country, just like regular mortgages. The difference, however, is that an FHA loan is ďguaranteedĒ by the federal government.

Lenders decide your borrowing eligibility, and how much you can borrow, by determining risk. If you donít have a sizable down payment (oftentimes 20% or more) and you have a low credit score, most mortgage lenders will see you as a risky person to lend to.

When you get an FHA loan, however, the federal government assumes some of that risk, allowing you to secure the loan anyway.

This means you can buy a home with a low credit score, a smaller than usual down payment, and save on some closing costs.

How do I qualify for an FHA Loan?

To find out if you qualify for an FHA loan, youíll head to the same place as a traditional mortgage--a mortgage lender. Oftentimes, you can simply call or visit the website of lenders to get the process started.

As with all things, itís a good idea to shop around for a mortgage lender. Their offerings will be largely similar, but there might be minor differences that make one better than another for your particular circumstances.

Down payment requirements

To secure an FHA loan, you will need to make a down payment of at least 3.5%. However, this low down payment comes with a price. Youíll typically be required to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) fees on top of your accruing interest for your loan.

Credit score requirements

While you can often secure a mortgage with a lower credit score through an FHA loan, there are still some requirements. To secure a loan with the lowest possible down payment (3.5%), youíll need a credit score of 580 or above.

Previous homeowners and FHA loans

A common misconception about FHA loans is that they are only for first-time homeowners. However, you can still qualify for an FHA loan if youíve owned a home before as long as it has been three years since youíve had a foreclosure or two years since filing for bankruptcy.

If you meet these three conditions, you should be able to secure an FHA loan through a traditional mortgage lender.




Categories: Buying a Home   Mortgage   FHA Loans  


Posted by Adriano Varano on 8/16/2018

Open houses can be a great way to get to know a home and the neighborhood it sits in. Sure, the seller will be trying to put their best foot forward on the big day. But, youíll still be able to get a chance to tour the home relatively uninterrupted.

But what should you look for in particular when attending an open house?

There are a number of things you can learn at an open house. Many prospective buyers spend the time looking at things like paint color and cosmetic touches that can easily be changed, and very little time considering important factors that should go into their home buying decision.

So, in todayís post, Iím going to cover some of the lesser known things you should be looking out for when you attend an open house. That way, youíll know which houses are worth considering further and which ones should be left behind.

Not enough storage space

If you find yourself constantly running out of storage space (and who doesnít?), youíll want to make sure the home has ample space to store your belongings. If it doesnít, see if you can find ways to repurpose areas for storage, such as spare bedrooms or garage space.

Overly scented areas

Itís perfectly normal for a sellerís agent to place one or two choice candles in the home during an open house.

However, if you notice some rooms have an overpowering smell of candles or air fresheners, thereís a good chance itís there to mask offensive and hard to remove smells. Pet and cigarette odors are among the worst culprits.

The windows, doors, and cabinets should work like a dream

When attending an open house, take note of how well the doors open and close. If appropriate, ask the sellerís agent if you can try out the windows and cabinets as well.

Problems with these items can be signs of poor craftsmanship, cheap materials, or neglect.

Traffic and neighbors

If youíve found what you think is the perfect home, it can be easy to see the world through rose-colored lenses.

However, itís important to take them off when looking around the yard. Take note of the traffic level, and the amount of privacy the home receives. If you like the home, itís also a good idea to stop by the neighborhood during rush house to gauge how traffic would affect your commute.

Air flow issues

Improper ventilation can lead to mold growth, especially in bathrooms and kitchens. Make sure bathroom vents and fans work properly, and check windows for condensation.

In rooms with sinks, check around the base of the sink and counter for signs of water damage or mold.

Large cracks in foundations or ceilings

While small, hairline cracks in the foundation of a home are completely normal, large ones can be dangerous.

They can allow water and pests to enter the home, causing all types of costly damages.


Keep those six tips in mind when you attend the open house, and be sure to bring a list of any other questions you might have for the sellerís agent.





Posted by Adriano Varano on 8/9/2018

Let's face it Ė the mere thought of informing family members about your decision to pursue a new home may cause your blood pressure to rise. However, there are many reasons why it often is beneficial to notify family members about your decision to kick off a search for a new residence. These reasons include:

1. You can identify and address potential homebuying hurdles.

Your family typically has your best interests in mind. As such, family members can help you plan ahead for the homebuying journey and resolve any potential conflicts.

For example, family members can help you analyze prospective home financing options. They may even be able to put you in touch with local banks and credit unions that can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage. Then, once you have home financing in hand, you can enter the real estate market with a homebuying budget at your disposal.

2. You can gain homebuying insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.

Family members who previously bought homes may be able to provide you with property buying insights that you probably won't receive elsewhere. With these insights, you'll be better equipped than ever before to understand the housing market and make the best-possible homebuying decision based on your individual needs.

Of course, family members may be able to keep you informed about new houses that become available in your preferred cities and towns too. Because if family members know where you want to find a home, they can help you accelerate your property search.

3. You can receive plenty of support throughout the homebuying journey.

Your family is there for you during good times and bad. If you inform family members about your decision to pursue a new home, they can provide you with comprehensive support throughout the property buying journey. As a result, family members can work with you to help you achieve your desired homebuying results in no time at all.

When it comes to getting help in your quest to discover your dream house, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. If you have a real estate agent at your side, you can receive expert assistance as you proceed along the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent is committed to helping you find a great home at a budget-friendly price. First, he or she will meet with you and learn about your homebuying criteria. A real estate agent next will craft a personalized homebuying strategy and notify you about new homes that become available that match your property buying criteria. And once you discover your dream residence, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer to purchase this house. Lastly, if your homebuying proposal is accepted, a real estate agent will help you finalize your home purchase so you close on this residence and move into your new house.

Take the guesswork out of buying a house Ė hire a real estate agent today, and you can seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips   Family  


Posted by Adriano Varano on 7/26/2018

Buying your first home is a big endeavor, both financially and personally. Homeownership means taking on new responsibilities and bills, but it also means true financial independence.

If youíre hoping to buy a home in the near future, you might be wondering what you should be doing now to put yourself in the best position when it comes time to buy a home. Well, youíre in luck. Todayís post is a simplified list of all of the things you can be doing today to start making your way toward your ultimate goal of homeownership.

1. Pay off small debts

The first thing youíll want to do to start saving for a down payment is to make sure youíre not pouring money down the drain to credit card companies for interest rates. If you owe small amounts of money (or less than $1,000), now is the time to aggressively pay down those debts.

The goal here is to get your credit cards to a place where you pay off your balance in full each month, avoiding interest while still earning rewards and building credit.

2. Speaking of creditÖ

One of the most important aspects of buying a home is your credit score. Take the time to learn about the 5 main things that contribute to your credit score and then work on ways to improve your score in those areas.

3. Donít open any new accounts if you can help it

Once you start getting closer to applying for a mortgage, you wonít want any new inquiries on your account that are temporarily lowering your score. If you need to open a new account to lift your score, then do so well in advance of applying for a mortgage.

4. Get serious about saving for a down payment

There are a few ways to proactively save for your down payment; none of them include setting money aside when you feel like it. Start by opening a dedicated account and direct-depositing a portion of your pay into that account each week.

If you have an emergency fund in place, you might be in a position to use a CD or certificate of deposit. These give the highest earnings from interest out of any form of savings. The catch? You canít withdraw from the account until you reach your savings goal without a penalty. If you know you wonít need to dip into these funds before theyíve matured, a CD is an excellent way to save.

5. Find out how much house you can afford

Homes are expensive. but, if itís your first home, you might need to borrow the maximum amount form the bank to find a house that youíll love. To find out what is a reasonable amount to spend on a home, youíll need to consider your monthly mortgage, bills, taxes, insurance, and any other expenses. Leave yourself room for savings, emergencies, and to live a little. You wonít be able to enjoy your home much if you have to spend your days struggling to afford it.

6. Career planning is vital

A good career is a balance between stability and upward mobility. Donít be afraid to be on the lookout for new positions with higher pay and better opportunities, even if youíre happy with your current job.

If youíve been in your position for a while, consider asking for a raise. Research salaries for other people in your position and go to your boss equipped with data to show that show you deserve a raise.





Posted by Adriano Varano on 7/19/2018

Buying a house should be a fast, simple process. However, problems sometimes can arise that prevent a homebuyer from discovering his or her dream residence.

Ultimately, there are many factors to consider before you purchase a house to ensure you can avoid myriad homebuying hurdles, and these factors include:

1. Your Home Needs

No two houses are identical, and much in the same vein, no two homebuyers have the same definition of the perfect residence. As such, a homebuyer should consider his or her dream home demands prior to kicking off a home search.

Making a checklist of home "must-haves" and "wants" is paramount. With this checklist in hand, a homebuyer will be able to refine his or her home search and map out the property buying journey accordingly.

It may be helpful to consider your day-to-day activities as you evaluate where you want to live too.

For example, if you work in the city, you may want to find a house that is located near public transportation. Comparatively, if you have kids, you may want to consider houses that are located close to top schools.

2. Your Budget

You know that you want to buy a house. On the other hand, you still have no idea how much money is available to ensure you can make your homeownership dreams come true.

When it comes to buying a house, it pays to meet with banks and credit unions. With pre-approval for a mortgage, you'll know precisely how much you can spend on a house.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, set up consultations with several potential lenders. Then, you can learn about all of your mortgage options and select a mortgage lender that matches or surpasses your expectations.

3. Your Homebuying Timeline

Are you looking to buy a home as soon as possible? Or, can you afford to take a wait-and-see approach throughout the homebuying journey?

Examine your homebuying timeline and plan ahead as much as possible. By doing so, you can boost your chances of finding a terrific house and minimize stress as you browse the real estate market.

Regardless of your homebuying timeline, it always helps to work with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can take the guesswork out of searching for a residence and ensure you can discover a stellar house at a budget-friendly price.

Typically, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about new residences as they become available. He or she also will provide honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations and respond to any homebuying concerns and questions.

Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent can provide during homebuying negotiations, either.

A real estate agent is happy to negotiate with a home seller on your behalf. That way, he or she can help you secure a great house without having to worry about paying too much.

Streamline the process of acquiring your ideal residence. Consider the aforementioned factors, and you can keep things simple as you proceed along the homebuying journey.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  




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