Market Overview

Are You Ready to Buy Your First Home?


Owning your own home may seem like a pipe dream for some, but even if you have less-than-stellar credit score you may be pleasantly surprised to see just what is available.

There’s no guarantee that you’ll find help in a climate where even some who have had no major debt problems in the past are struggling to get on the ladder, but there are mortgage products on the market designed to suit everybody’s financial backgrounds. You can explore mortgage options with Experian Mortgage Matters.

Mortgage lenders typically look for a strong record repaying debt responsibly in the past as well as information that you give them in your application form. Those with a poor credit history who do manage to get the lenders to help them are usually offered sub-prime or adverse credit mortgages. The catch when it comes to mortgages for those with a poor credit history is that they can be asked for a deposit of at least a quarter of the property value before lending is agreed to. Interest rates are usually significantly higher too. Nonetheless, even those with a sizeable salary and a hefty deposit saved up can find it tough to arrange funding in this difficult market.

Optimising your credit score

If you’re thinking about buying a house, it’s a wise move to find out where you stand when it comes to credit. Some people have been refused credit not because they have been particularly irresponsible at managing debt in the past, but because of additional factors that they may never have considered such as not being on the electoral role or even having too much available credit already.

A mortgage lender is also likely to ask for payslips – or three years’ worth of accounts if you are self-employed. Remember the lender will combine your credit history, the information you share in your application form and the policy rules they have for the product into a credit score which will be the deciding factor on getting accepted or not. You should take any steps you can to improve your credit history before applying for a mortgage if you can, such as paying off debts and dealing with bills as soon as they hit your doormat. This shows that you have a sensible approach to your finances.

Whilst a home may look cheap on paper, there are usually many other factors to bear in mind. You’ll need to think about mortgage interest rates, monthly payments and council tax to name but a few and will have to decide whether a property you’re interested in really meets your needs. Can you reach your workplace from there within a reasonable time-frame? Will a flat, terraced house, detached or semi-detached home be your best match?

Seek legal advice

As soon as you start making a serious attempt to look for a new home, you should find a solicitor. A property lawyer will deal with sellers and their agents on your behalf and deal with all the legal complexities that are beyond non-solicitors. You’ll also need to get a surveyor on the case before you do make an offer, to ensure that there aren’t any faults that haven’t been pointed out to you already. Once your offer is accepted and contracts are exchanged, expect to pay 10% of the fee to the seller. The rest of the funds are released when all the legalities are taken care of.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR), America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members, threw its support to the call of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for Congress to extend the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act

NAR president Steve Brown commented, “U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called on Congress today to do the right thing for financially distressed American families who lost homes to foreclosure or short sales this year, and Realtors agree. After announcing the details of the U.S. Department of Justice’s settlement with Bank of America, which includes $7 billion in relief to consumers, Holder lamented that Congressional inaction to extend the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act will mean that people meant to be helped by the settlement funds will instead be penalized on their income taxes.”

Brown called on Congress to take immediate action to pass this legislation.

As property buyers and investors gain more confidence in the market, real estate agents can boost their listings and their reputation by taking advantage of technologies developed by Fort Lauderdale, Florida company RealBiz Media Group, Inc. (OTCQB: RBIZ). RealBiz Media has developed a range of disruptive online marketing tools centered on videos and virtual tours to help agents market their listings.

Its Microvideo App platform is an enterprise platform for both real estate agents and brokers for the creation of microsites that point to their websites and listings, and virtual tours that showcase properties to a wider customer base. The platform also features a data analytics dashboard where agents can identify new real estate leadsand monitor the progress of their campaigns. 

The preceding article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.


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