Buying a home is a big step, one that requires that you prepare for the process. Mortgages are complicated financial transactions, but with the right tools and information you can navigate your way to homeownership. MBA is here to help. Use the consumer resources on this page to start your journey.
Five Steps to Homeownership
(click on the pages to see more information)
|Prepare for the Process.
Learn how to prepare for homeownership - one of the most important decisions an individual or family can make. This guide readies you for the challenges in the homebuying and financing process and offers steps you, as a consumer, can take as you prepare to buy your home.
|Evaluate Your Credit.
This handy guide provides insights on your consumer credit rating and helps you understand how mortgage lenders decide if they will loan you money for your new home. Learn where you can find a free copy of your credit report and how to potentially improve your credit score.
|Shop for a Mortgage.
This guide contains important consumer information on the new mortgage rules in effect as October 3, 2015. Learn how these changes, including information on the new Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure forms will impact the process and what you can do to prepare.
|Get the Facts on Closing.
You've found the house of your dreams, and a mortgage product that works for you...now what?. Learn about the closing process, types of paperwork and documents required, and what your new mortgage will include. Don't be surprised by fees, taxes and deadlines and review this brochure targeted at consumers to ensure your closing runs smoothly.
|Plan for the Unexpected.
Prepare. Even an experienced homeowner needs to plan and budget for unforeseen problems so that they meet their financial obligations. This consumer guide advises you on ways you can budget for your new home, preparing for surprises and unknowns and learn how to work with your lender if unforeseen circumstances should arise.
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Everyone who’s anyone in this industry is familiar with the term “spring selling season,” which defines the time of year when homes typically go on sale and buyers and sellers go to work. Sellers are busy cleaning and preparing their homes for open houses, viewings, pictures, and agents. Buyers are busy searching for the perfect house to fit their needs. Late fall and winter months are often considered the “off season,” when buyers and sellers are hibernating. If sellers didn’t sell in the spring and summer months, they tend to put the laborious task on hold until the following spring/summer and buyers stop looking because they know there is minimal supply.
The main question is: why? Why, in LA county alone, is there a 20% drop in selling from September to December? It’s not because properties go down in value in the winter months, it’s not because people suddenly don’t need or want to move. The number one reason for the massive drop is inconvenience. The late fall and winter months are holiday months. They are months when sellers don’t want the additional stress of setting up their house for viewings. They prefer to avoid strangers walking in and out of their home while hosting holiday parties, family from out of town, and decorating for the holiday season. The holidays already present so much stress— they tend to think, “Why add more to my already full plate?!”
Sellers need to start thinking about the level of competition in the spring and summer seasons. Though it seems demand is higher, the truth is your house could compete with 15-20 comparable homes in those warmer seasons, resulting in less foot traffic. Listing your home during that competitive market makes your home more susceptible, more likely to be passed over. Even worse, you may still have the same amount of stress, as you take pictures, set up your home for viewings, vacate your property for open houses and garner the same amount of foot traffic as other homes — but with less interest from potential buyers. The catch is, if you’re willing to step out of your comfort zone and endure temporary short-term stress you can reap the benefits. There is genuine potential for long term success while selling in the “off season.” Not only can you obtain more money for your property and increase interest in it, but selling your home unburdens you from impending stress months down the line. Plus, consider the benefits for the buyer, who can close on your home before the end of the tax year. Ultimately, it’s beneficial for you, as a seller, and your family.
Serious buyers are in the market this time of the year for two reasons. First (and most importantly), the fed cut interest rates another 1/4 percentage point last week. This significantly influences interest in acquiring new property. Given the uncertainty in the government right now (and the mere manifestation of uncertainty) buyers will want to jump on absorbing properties as soon as possible. Second, buyers can close and receive tax breaks before the end of the year, rather than putting that off until 2020. Food for thought: most buyers and sellers are slower towards the end of the year and have more time to move.
Speak to sellers currently on the fence about selling their homes and why it could be advantageous to sell NOW compared to later. Encourage them to think of the present and not 7-10 months in the future. Find out the advantages of current market and the rewards for both them and potential buyers. More often than not, these individuals would love nothing more than to secure the best price with a seamless transaction. If you encounter sellers with any of the hesitations mentioned above, remind them of these simple, important facts and reassure them that the winter selling season shouldn’t be overlooked. Remind them not to let inconvenience prevent them from making the most money possible from their property. They want to make the most money possible, and you, the agent, want that for them too. We want all our clients to have an individualized, pleasant, idyllic experience that leaves them happy and satisfied, and assure them that we are the only ones who can provide the experience they seek.
Our presence is not only to be felt during the “spring selling season,” but all year long, and our confidence in our abilities needs to supersede the comfort and complacency sellers may have that assumes that spring and summer months are the only times of the year to sell homes. We know better, we know the market, we keep tabs on the interest rates and know what’s happening in the economy that can, both imminently and futuristically, affect the market. We know what we’re talking about and we are confident we can deliver optimum service and results, no matter what time of year sellers want to sell their homes. Sellers simply need to give us the opportunity and we will deliver with confidence, ease and precision every time. So don’t let a “oh— this isn’t the right season. We should wait until the spring” attitude dissuade you from being enthusiastic with sellers about getting them in the market right now. Give them the information and have them make the best, most informed decision that works for them. You are capable of making this last push to the end of the year your best few months YET.How Do I Start?
There are many questions homeowners ask themselves during the selling process. "How much will my home sell for?" "How much should I list my home for?" "Who should I select as a real estate agent to sell my home?" "What if the real estate agent overprices my home?" Last but not least, "Is this a good time to be selling a home?" is also a very common question that real estate agents are asked.
As with every decision in life, there are pros and cons, and choosing when to sell a home is no different. There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration before deciding when to sell a home. Many homeowners believe selling a home during the fall or winter months is not a good idea and that the spring is the only time a house should be sold. This is the furthest from the truth. Certainly most real estate markets across the United States experience a "spring market rush" every year. There is no doubt that the "spring market" is a great time to be selling and buying real estate, however, the fall and winter seasons may be the best fit for you for many reasons.
Here are several reasons why choosing to sell your home now may be a better decision than waiting until the spring:
One way that you can tell the spring real estate market has arrived is by driving down a street in your local community. In all likelihood there will be For Sale signs up all over the neighborhood! One great reason to sell your home now and not wait until the spring market is there is sure to be less competition. The fewer number of comparable homes for sale, the greater the probability that a buyer will look at your home.
Simply put, it’s the supply and demand theory. If there are less homes for sale, there are less homes that a potential buyer can choose from, therefore increasing the demand for your home. Not only will less competition increase the probability for showings, but it will also increase the probability that an offer will be received and you will get the maximum amount of money for your home.
Serious Buyers Are Out There
Homes are sold and bought 365 days a year, period! Many homeowners believe that buyers aren't out there during the fall and winter months. This simply is not the case. Serious buyers are always out there! Some buyers may stop their home search because it is the fall or winter, but serious buyers will continue to look at homes, no matter what time of year it is.
The fall and winter months are also a great time for a potential buyer to see what a specific neighborhood is like. Do your neighbors have pumpkins on their front step? Are there lots of Trick-or-Treaters wandering the neighborhood on Halloween? Do any of your neighbors have any light displays for the holidays? There are buyers out there who will look at these types of things when determining whether your home is in the right neighborhood for them or not.
The Best Agents Are Always Up To The Challenge
Any real estate agent who tells you that the fall or winter months are a bad time to sell is not someone you want selling your home! A great real estate agent will know how to adapt to the current season and market their listings to reflect that. A great real estate agent can make suggestions and give some of their tips on how to sell a home during the fall or winter seasons. If a real estate agent doesn't have any suggestions on making your home more desirable for the current season, you should be concerned about the creativity they are going to use when marketing your home.
Staging For The Holiday Season
Many sellers believe staging a home is the main reason a home sells. While staging certainly helps sell homes, some buyers have a difficult time envisioning themselves in a home no matter what you do. However, there are some buyers who can easily be "sold" on a home because it is staged. Simple “seasonal” staging such as adjusting the color of the decor or having an aroma in the air that is relative to the time of year can go a long way with some potential buyers and possibly be the difference between a home selling or not.
Right now, there are fewer real estate transactions than there will be in the spring. The fewer number of transactions means the mortgage lenders have less loans to process, attorneys have less closings to do, and home inspectors have fewer inspections to do. All of these factors should lead to a quicker transaction and closing for all the parties involved. One of the most frustrating things for a seller to deal with while selling their home is not getting answers in a reasonable amount of time. A quicker transaction is going to be less stress for you.
By considering all of the reasons above, you will be able to determine whether now is a good time to sell or if you should wait until the spring.