Sunday, July 30, 2017

Crucial facts about FHA loans

What is an FHA loan?

National Home Search

An FHA loan is a mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration. Borrowers with FHA loans must pay for mortgage insurance, which protects the lender from a loss should the borrower defaults on the loan. Because of the mortgage insurance, lenders can offer FHA loans at attractive (lower) interest rates with less stringent and more flexible qualification requirements to borrowers.

Here are some facts about FHA loans.

Credit does not have to be perfect!
 The minimum credit scores for FHA loans depend on the type of loan a borrower needs.  A credit score of 580 or higher can get a borrower a mortgage with a down payment as low as 3.5 percent.  With credit scores of 500-579, you will need down payments of at least 10 percent. Those with credit scores under 500 generally are not eligible for FHA loans. However, FHA will make allowances under certain circumstances for applicants who have what it calls "nontraditional credit history or insufficient credit" if they meet requirements.  Check with your FHA lender or an FHA loan specialist to see if you are qualified with a score under 500.

Down payment of 3.5 percent
For most borrowers, FHA requires a down payment of 3.5 % of the home purchase price. That's a huge attraction, especially for first time home buyers. In late 2014, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reduced minimum down payments to 3 percent from 10 percent, but such loans have limited availability.

FHA borrowers can use their own savings, a gift from a family member, or a grant from a state or local government down-payment assistance program to make their down payment.

Closing costs may be covered
The FHA allows home sellers, builders, and lenders to pay some of the borrower's closing costs, such as an appraisal, credit report or title expenses. For example, a builder might offer to pay closing costs as an incentive for the borrower to buy a new home. Resellers do the same as well to attract buyers to the sale of their home. (Ask your realtor to negotiate some or all of the closing costs in your purchase and sales agreement).

Lenders typically charge a higher interest rate on the loan if they agree to pay closing costs. Borrowers can compare loan estimates from competing lenders to figure out which option makes the most sense.

Lender must be FHA-approved
Because FHA is not a lender, but rather an insurer, borrowers need to get their loan through an FHA-approved lender (as opposed to directly from the FHA). Not all FHA-approved lenders offer the same interest rate and costs savings on the same FHA loan.

Costs, services, and underwriting standards will vary among lenders or mortgage brokers, so it's important for borrowers to shop around.

Two-part mortgage insurance
There are two mortgage insurance premiums that are required on all FHA loans: The upfront premium is 1.75 percent of the loan amount ($1,750 for a $100,000 loan). This upfront premium is paid when the borrower gets the loan. The upfront premium can be financed as part of the loan amount.

The second is called the annual premium and is paid monthly. It varies based on the length of the loan, the loan amount, and the initial loan-to-value ratio, or LTV. The following premiums are for loans of $625,500 or less.

Annual premiums for FHA loans
30-year loan, down payment of less than 5 percent: 0.85 percent
30-year loan, down payment of 5 percent or more: 0.80 percent
15-year loan, down payment of less than 10 percent: 0.70 percent
15-year loan, down payment of 10 percent or more: 0.45 percent

Cash can be borrowed for needed repairs.
FHA has a special loan product for borrowers. Borrowers who need extra cash can finance up to $35,000 for nonstructural repairs for items such as cabinets, fixtures, and painting. This loan is called a 203(k) loan and is not based on the current appraised value of the home. It is based on the repair cost to the home.  

Financial hardship relief allowed
FHA insurance isn't supposed to be an easy out for borrowers who are unhappy about their mortgage payments. It is a loan service that offers some relief to borrowers who have an FHA-insured loan, who have suffered a serious financial hardship or are struggling to make their mortgage payments. Such relief might be in the form of a temporary period of forbearance, a loan modification that lower the borrower’s interest rate, extend the payback period, or a deferral of part of the loan balance at no interest.


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Monday, July 10, 2017


National Home Search

If you are in the market to buy a home, the process can seem overwhelming. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you begin your home search.

Contact a local real estate agent
The first step is to find a local real estate agent who is familiar with the market which you are interested in. This alone can be a process, so make sure you are well informed. Do your research and ask questions until you find someone who is experienced and one you can trust.

Know what you are looking for
Remember it is hard to get everything you want when buying a home. So, think about what most important to you. It’s good to jot down the requirements of what most important to you. What are your must-haves and what you willing to compromise on? Communicate those needs to your real estate agent.

Consider the Cost of Homeownership
Owning a home costs more than just the mortgage payment so, budget accordingly. In addition to your monthly payments, consider property taxes, utility bills, homeowner’s insurance, and Home Owner’s Association (HOA) dues, (if there are any). You also want to think about transportation and cost of living in your new neighborhood. You may also plan on some upgrades and repairs if you are purchasing reseal home. Remember larger the home is the greater the utility and maintenance expenses.

Location Is Important
A home is only worth as much as it’s neighborhood. So, be sure that you purchase a home in a neighborhood you like to live in. Again, make a list. What kind of neighborhood would you like? If you have school age kids, the school district might be very important to you. How far are you willing to commute to and from work? And what is the overall feel of your ideal community? If you have never visited the area that you would like to live in do so (more than once if possible). Make sure this is where you can imagine yourself living.

Know Your Loans-Financing Options
Every home loan advertisement looks great on paper but what’s in is the fine print? Make sure you know your interest rates, down payment requirements, and penalties. Make sure your loan officer go over these with you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if something is not clear. Also, don’t be afraid to shop around and turn down loan offers that seem troubling or confusing.

Obtain Full Property Disclosure and Home Inspection
By law, the home seller is obligated to disclose any problems with the home or condo that you are buying. However, there may be additional costly repairs such as foundation problems that the current owner is not aware of. So, hire a professional home inspector to inspect the home. Your real estate agent should be able to recommend a quality home inspector. Get a professional home inspection regardless of whether or not purchasing a new or reseal home. You don’t want to buy a home that may potentially cost you thousands of dollars in additional repairs.

Get Everything in Writing.
Real estate jargon can be confusing. Get it all in writing and if you don’t understand something, make sure to ask your real estate agent. To buy a home, it is imperative that you collect each piece of information and the overall transaction in writing so, that you are covered in case something goes wrong.

Before Closing
Before your purchase is final, make sure to purchase home insurance and title insurance. In addition, consider purchasing a home warranty, if it’s not included in the transaction. On the day of closing do a final walkthrough with your real estate agent to make sure the home is in the same condition as it was when you initially agreed to purchase.

Tax deductions
Owning a home will also qualify you for certain tax deductions. It is important that you take advantage of them each year. Your tax preparer will help you get these deductions.

Get Excited
Most importantly, get excited. You will now be a proud homeowner and this is a big accomplishment. A place to call your own!The first step to buying your home is to find a local real estate agent in your area to help you. CENTURY 21 REALTY only works with the best real estate agents in each city. Let CENTURY 21 REALTY help you find your real estate agent today.

To find your dream home in Atlanta/Metro Atlanta click here National Home Search click here

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Security Tips to Keep Your Home Safe and Your Family Protected!

National Home Search
When you sleep to sleep at night, can you rest easy knowing that your family is protected? There may be some neighborhoods that are considered than others to live in. However, it is always a good idea to do what you can to help protect your home to avoid unwanted entry. Here are a few things that you can do to protect the safety of your family:

Assess the Lighting In and around Your Home

Proper lighting is essential to deter intruders.  Good lighting makes it harder for anyone to sneak in undetected. If possible put some lights on automatic to come on in the evening until early morning. Lights on evening make it appear as though someone is home even if no one is. In some areas on the outside, you should consider installing motion detector lights. If someone approaches your home and the lights come on it increases the likelihood that they will turn around and leave.  It’s also a good idea to leave a bedroom light on a radio or TV on when you are away on vacation or away overnight.   

Security Systems

There are some great security systems that can be used to improve the safety of your home. Some of these systems can be managed from your smartphone and internet giving you updates and notifications every time a door or window opens. Other features include motion sensors that can be tripped to notify monitoring services if someone enters your home when they (alarms) are on.  

Change the Locks

When you purchase your home, the first thing to do is change the locks or replace the key(s) on all entrance doors. You never know who still has a copy of the keys! The previous owner could have provided keys to friends or family, giving people access to your home if the locks are left in place.

If you decide to only change the keys can take the door handles and deadbolts to a local hardware store, and they will switch out the locks for a reasonable price.  There are also locks reinforcements that can be installed on the doors, such as a door brace that can only be locked and unlocked from the inside of you home.

Keep all entrance doors lock, even when you are at home. It takes no time for someone to enter your home if your back is turned. So, maintain a good habit of always locking the doors. The vast majority of the time intruders come in through the front or back door so; you can reduce the likelihood of intrusion by keeping those doors locked and install proper lightings.

At Century 21 Realty, our goal is to fulfill your real estate needs in all neighborhoods. If you are in the market to buy or sell a home, then we invite you to contact your experienced realtor to learn more: (770) 262-7533 or  or visit my website:

Monday, January 2, 2017

Tips That Will Help Speed Up Your Home Sale

By Royan Johnson @ CENTURY 21 | January 2, 2017

Every seller wants a faster home sale. Make a good impression on buyers to increase your chances of a speedy sale. Not sure how to do that? Here are some tips for every step of the home sale process.
Optimize Your Listing: A picture tells a thousand words. Make sure or your agent takes professional quality pictures of your home. You want to stand out among the abundance of online listings (for all the right reasons). Work with your CENTURY 21 listing agent to write your listing and seller’s marketing plan. 

Upgrade Your Curb Appeal: The outside of your home is the first area a potential buyer will see. Spruce up your yard and exterior (mow the lawn remove debris). If necessary add a fresh coat of paint, a new mailbox, new landscaping, and more. 

Clear Clutter: Getting rid of clutter makes your home appear larger and more appealing to buyers. Put away or donate usable items, and get rid of items that are unusable. Once you’ve paired down, get organized so everything looks neat and tidy. 

Make Your Home Feel Larger: Use light paint colors, incorporating mirrors, adding extra lighting, and sticking to a monochromatic color scheme may make your room appear larger. Home decor and home improvement changes should be made before your open house. 

Accomplish Home Improvement Projects: Pick up a hammer and nails, and complete some home upgrades. However, don’t improve things too much.  

Avoid Common Seller Slip-Ups:  Overpricing: Attract few buyers, Poor Condition: Create low buyer’s excitement produce lower offers if any, Weak Motivation: you the seller not responding to offers on a timely basis, Limiting Access: very few viewers and not Understanding Marketing: Similar to overpricing. Believing that your house is worth more than it actually is.   

Open Houses: An open house is a key component of the home sale process. You want your open houses to run as smoothly as possible. Make it your agent’s job to handle the open house process. Don’t hang around the open house. Also pets out of the homes as well.

Set the Price: Setting a price can be tricky. You don’t want to price too high or too low. Your agent should do their research by completing a full CMA of prices of similar houses in the immediate neighborhood that was sold in the last 6 months. (Before listing with an agent asks for a CMA. A CMA will help you understand why the agent came up whit the recommended list price that they do.  

Make Century 21 Atlanta GA  your go to for all your real estate needs in Greater Atlanta. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Keeping your home functioning safely and efficiently in the winter

The winter is upon us again. Here are a few tips to keep your home functioning safely and efficiently:
Installing a programmable thermostat will help regulate your usage. Set the thermostat at 68 degrees or below to save energy and money.  In the daytime keep window curtains and blinds open to let in sunlight. Sunlight helps to keep a warmer temperature in your home.  Now is also the perfect time to complete a household check to prepare for colder weather.

Have a professional check furnace to ensure the pilot light and burners are working properly. The filter should be changed regularly.
Be sure to check carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Make sure they are working properly with adequate battery life.
Space heaters should be away from anything flammable and be off when no one is at home. Make sure space heater is approved for indoors use, to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
Properly inspected the fireplace before starting a traditional fire or igniting gas logs. It is also wise to have you chimney check and clean by a professional.
Remember to removing excess buildup from both of these appliances on a regular basis.

Keep warm air in and cold air out. Pay close attention to openings around windows and doors.  Seal air leaks with weather stripping and caulking.  Also, check attic to make sure it is properly insulated.

Make  Century 21 Atlanta GA  your go to for all your real estate needs in Greater Atlanta. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Avoid These Common First-Time Home Buyer Mistakes

Buying a home for the first time can be cumbersome. You’ve never done it before, so it’s normal to feel a bit overwhelmed. Luckily, we’ve pulled together some of the common mistakes first-time home buyers make. Learn from them, and you may have a smoother home buying process.
·         Forgetting About Costs:
Your mortgage will probably not be the only cost when it comes to buying a home. Smaller costs like property insurance, taxes, electric and water bills, and other fees may start to pile up. Before buying a house, you may need to look further into your savings to figure out if you can pay for all of these additional charges.

·         Looking for a Home Before the Loan:
Once you find a house and decide to buy it, you don’t want to spend time wondering if you can afford it. Knowing your budget, and that you are a qualified buyer before you begin your search may make the process easier and more efficient. Once you decide that it’s time to buy a home, get pre-approved for a loan. Contact your Century 21 real estate agent to talk about getting pre-approved for a loan that suits you.

·         Not Hiring Professionals:
Moving isn’t as simple as packing up your stuff and renting a van. It takes a village to move into a new neighborhood. Your team can only be as good as your weakest link, so you may want to ensure that you have only the best players. Get your home buying team in place before starting the search.  A Century 21 real estate agent can help you put the right team together.

·         Being Too Picky:
There’s nothing wrong with knowing what you want when it comes to buying a home. But if your “must-have” list gets too long and too specific, you may end up looking for your perfect house for a very long time. Also, remember that you can make changes once you move in. It may be wise to take the time to figure out what you really need versus what you want. If you are unsure where to start, our checklist may help!

·         Lacking Vision:
Some of the open houses you attend may not look move-in ready. But plenty of homes have hidden potential. When you look for a home, try to look past the 70’s shag rugs and lava lamps. Imagine what the home will look like after you’ve moved in with all of your own belongings, or try to envision the structure of the home without the stuff inside it. This will be an important skill, especially if you’re looking to buy a fixer-upper as your first home.

·         Ignoring the Future: 
If you plan on living in this house for a long time, you may want to think ahead. You may decide to have kids in a few years, and then you’ll have to worry about another set of questions. Will there be enough bedrooms? Is the house located in a good school district? These may be things to think about when buying your home.
So whether you’re just starting to think about buying your first home, or you’ve already spent some time looking, there may be a lot to learn from this list of mistakes.
Source: century21 real estate blog.

 For all your real estate needs in Greater Atlanta, GA visit: Century 21 real estate agent's website.

Friday, October 7, 2016


 Buying a home is a significant and exciting decision. This section provides professional real estate advice and helpful home buying tips.

First Steps
The Internet and real estate professionals are the top two resources most buyers turn to when searching for a home. When it’s not convenient for you to speak directly with a real estate professional, can help improve your overall home buying experience and provide the guidance to reduce stress, save time, and make you a savvy, successful consumer.

A CENTURY 21® Agent is ready to make a full-time commitment to help you capitalize on current market opportunities and assist you in making an informed decision.

To ensure you make the right choice for the long term, a CENTURY 21 Agent offers extensive knowledge in:
  •          Neighborhoods, schools and market conditions
  •          Mortgage specialists who can assist you with your financing
  •          Technology that gives them an edge, along with multiple resources available just for you on /

 Would you like to receive more information on the home buying process? Contact a CENTURY 21 Atlanta GA Agent (My CENTURY21).

1 2010 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

Finding the right real estate agent can make you a savvy consumer and improve your overall experience.

The single biggest reason most people buy a home is the simple desire to own a home of their own.1 At the same time, homeowners accumulate wealth for the future while enjoying the benefits of a residence that they can use, improve and enjoy. What’s different is each individual’s wish-list of essentials; from public transportation to the number of bedrooms, we can help you create a comprehensive list and go from there.

1 2010 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers
Looking for a house to buy? This section will help you create a prioritized list of features to narrow your search.
What's the Right Home For You?
Before deciding which house to buy, consider your lifestyle, current and anticipated housing needs and budget. It’s a good idea to create a prioritized list of features you want in your new home; you'll quickly discover finding the right house involves striking a balance between your "must-haves" and your "nice-to-haves."

If you love to cook, you'll appreciate a well-equipped kitchen. If you're into gardening, you'll want a yard. If a home office is a must, you’ll need a room that will provide you adequate work space. If you have several cars, you may require a larger garage. Use this list as your search guide.

Next, think about what you might need in the future, and how long you are likely to live in this particular home. If you're newly married, you might not be concerned with a school district right now, but you could be in a few years. If you have aging parents, you may want to look at homes that offer living arrangements that could accommodate them as well.

It’s important to think about your new home’s location just as carefully as its features. In addition to considering the distance to work, evaluate what matters to you in terms of services, convenience and accessibility, such as shopping, police and fire protection, medical facilities, school and daycare, traffic and parking, trash and garbage collection, even recreational facilities.

Be sure to talk to your real estate professional about where you want to live and what’s most important to you. While buyers frequently use the Internet to gain access to listings or available properties for sale, an agent brings value to the entire home buying process. He or she is available to analyze data, answer questions, share their professional expertise, and handle all the paperwork and legwork that is involved in any real estate transaction. CENTURY 21® professionals can help their clients narrow their choices by sharing market trends and local information.

TIP:  It’s also important to consider the type of home that suits you best. Is it a condominium or a co-op? A townhouse or a detached single-family home? Do you want brick, stone, stucco, wood, vinyl siding, or something else? Do you prefer a new home or an older one?

How much home can you afford? Review your income, savings, and debt to figure out how much home you can afford.
How Much Can You Afford?
Now that you know what you're looking for, the next step is figuring out what type of home you can afford. A review of your income, savings, monthly expenses and debt will be necessary.

Early in the process, you'll want to get pre-qualified for a mortgage loan. It enables you to move swiftly when you find the right home, especially when there are other interested buyers. It also indicates to the seller that you are serious and can afford to buy the property. A pre-approval is a simple calculation done by a mortgage lender that tells you the amount you'll be able to finance through a loan and what your monthly payment will be.

The price you can afford to pay for a home will depend on several factors, such as:

  •          Gross income
  •          The funds you have available for the down payment, closing costs and cash reserves required by the lender
  •          Your debt
  •          Your credit history
  •          The type of mortgage you select
  •          Current interest rates

Another figure that lenders use to evaluate how much you can afford is the housing expense-to-income ratio. It is determined by calculating your projected monthly housing expense, which consists of the principal and interest payment, property tax payments and insurance premiums on your new home loan (also known as PITI).

Each buyer is unique, and a mortgage professional can help you find out just what you can afford. Your income and debts will typically play the biggest roles in determining your price range. It's simple to make an estimate – just run the numbers for yourself using our Affordability Calculator.

Evaluating a neighborhood and surrounding areas thoroughly is essential.
When you buy a home, you're investing in a community. You'll spend a significant amount of time and money supporting the schools, community organizations and commercial centers in the area. Before you make the final decision, take a good look at the location and make sure it fits your lifestyle. For example:
·          Evaluate the property’s proximity to other important locations in your life. How long will your commute time be? Is there a hospital or doctor's office nearby? What about schools, childcare, shopping, family and friends?
·          Consider all of your transportation options. A new home could lend itself to public transportation options or carpooling. Depending on the type of community, you may be able to find alternative methods of transportation. Take the time to drive from the new home to your commuting destinations, to get a sense of what your daily life will be like.
·          Make sure you feel comfortable in the area. Drive around the neighborhood at different times of the day and night on multiple days of the week to observe activity and noise levels. An educated buyer is a happy one!

CENTURY 21® real estate professionals are a tremendous resource. Ask your agent for a list of schools, shopping centers, parks or other amenities that are important to you. Buying a new home is about more than the structure and property. It's about your new lifestyle as well.
TIP: Visit and understand the school district. Even if you don't have children in the school system now, you may some day. The district reputation could positively or negatively impact the selling price of your future home as well.

Buying a home while selling an existing home has its own set of considerations; this section provides expert buying advice and can help you navigate these challenges successfully.
What If You Already Have a Home?
Buying a new home and selling an existing home at the same time has its own set of challenges. With knowledgeable planning, you can ensure everything goes smoothly.
Before putting your house on the market or committing to buying a new one, take a look at the prices of houses in the areas where you'll be selling and buying. You'll need a realistic idea of sales prices for similar houses, so you can assess both your buying and selling position.  
What if you're unable to time the sale of one house with the purchase of another? You may own no houses for a time, in which case you'll need money in the bank and a temporary place to live. Or, you may own two houses at once. That's why it's important to have a backup plan. Here are some options to consider:
·         Research short-term rental and storage options (family, friends, storage facilities, containers).
·         Bridge financing (a short-term loan) for the down payment on a new home backed by the equity in your old house.

Buying a Second Home
Buying a second home isn't all that different from buying a first home. Affording it usually depends on your ability to qualify for a mortgage on the second home. Benefits include a getaway for the family on vacations or holidays, a future retirement home, or renters making your mortgage payments for you.
Keep in mind that if you declare it as a rental, your mortgage might be slightly higher and your down payment requirements higher than a standard mortgage. Work with your lender to create a customized loan program with the best combination of rate, points, and closing costs to meet your needs.
TIP: A second home can be a good investment. To make the most of the opportunity, be sure you factor in sources for your down payment and monthly expenses (including the costs of maintaining the property).

The content for this blog is form .The owner of this blog page is a license Century 21 real estate agent.