Ever hear the terms REO, bank-owned, short sale or HUD home? And have you even wondered what the heck all those terms mean? Here are some definitions used to describe common types of distressed properties:
Foreclosure: This refers to the process of a lender taking possession of a property from an owner who isn’t paying their mortgage as promised. After the process of foreclosure is completed and the homeowner has left, the property is offered for sale at auction.
REO or bank owned: The terms REO – short for the term “real-estate owned” – and “bank-owned” both refer to properties that are owned by banks. Properties gain that distinction after they go through foreclosure and fail to sell at auction. Adding to the confusion is that REOs and bank-owned properties are often called foreclosures. REOs, or bank-owned properties typically are offered for sale by real-estate agents and sold in “as-is” condition, meaning any repairs will be up to the buyer.
Short sale: This term refers to a property being offered for sale by a homeowner who owes more on their mortgage than their home is worth. Because the seller is asking a bank to accept less than they are owed, the bank is involved in the sale process and ultimately must give final approval to the selling price. That makes short sales some of the most complex and time-consuming real estate transactions.
HUD home: Still with me? This term refers to a home that was originally purchased with a loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD. The FHA guarantees loans made by private lenders, so if a borrower defaults on an FHA loan, the agency will pay off the lender and take responsibility for the property. At that point, the property becomes a “HUD” home and is offered for sale in much the same way as a bank sells an REO.
Ready to buy your first home? Your first step is to visit a mortgage lender to see how much house you can afford. But be prepared for the paperwork that comes with it. Here are the documents you’ll be asked to provide as part of the loan application process:
Rental payment history. If you’re a first-time home buyer, you’ll need to provide proof that you paid your rent on time. Your lender can tell you how to document this payment history.
Tax returns. You will likely be asked for two or three years of tax returns with all the attached schedules and documents.
Paychecks, W-2s and other income documentation. Start with at least a month’s worth of paychecks, plus W-2 forms for you and your spouse. Do you have income from other sources? Include documentation for any freelance work, self-employment income and child support payments as well.
Account information. Your lender will want to see checking and savings account statements for at least one month. You may be asked for any other account statements as well to document your down payment funds and money you have set aside in savings.
Remember, the more quickly you respond to requests for documentation, the more quickly your loan application can be processed!
Think that you need a 20 percent downpayment to purchase a home? Many prospective home buyers buy into this myth, studies show. Yet research shows that among those who take out a mortgage to purchase a home, the median downpayment is about 10 percent.
For first-time home buyers (comprising more than one third of all home buyers), the downpayment is typically lower, in the 5 percent range, while repeat buyers typically make a downpayment of around 14 percent, according to National Association of Realtors’ data.
In all, 88 percent of home buyers finance their home purchases. Some other home financing facts:
Are you ready to purchase a home? We’re here to help you get started!
You found a home your family loves. But you’re not the only one who wants it. What’s the best way to make an offer on a home that other buyers are vying for as well? Here are some ways to put your best foot forward:
Start off with your best offer. This isn’t the time to start with a lowball offer and wait for the seller to make a counteroffer before you offer more. If you have competition, you’ll want to consider making your best offer right off the bat. That said, don’t let a multiple offer situation push you into offering more than you’re comfortable paying.
Make sure you’re pre-approved. Make sure you’re pre-approved for a home loan before you start your home search, not just prequalified. Attach your pre-approval letter to your offer.
Don’t skimp on earnest money. An adequate earnest money deposit is a sign that you’re serious about buying the home.
Don’t waive the home inspection. In multiple offer situations, it’s easy to get caught up in the competition and do whatever it takes to win. To stand out, some buyers will even elect to not make a professional home inspection a contingency of their offer. Home inspections are an important part of the home buying process and can help you spot costly problems.
Relax. There are so many parts of a multiple offer situation you have no control over, so try not to let the stress get to you.
Homeowner and renter insurance plans are designed to protect you in the event of a disaster such as a fire. But with all the items in an average household, it’s imperative that you document your belongings so that you can file an accurate and timely claim should you need to. When moving, many families buy new appliances or furniture and in some cases get rid of other items. That’s why once you’re settled into your new home, it’s an ideal time to create or update your home inventory. Here are the three components of an effective home inventory:
Photos or video. You can take photos or video, but you’ll want shots of entire rooms and close-ups of items such as electronics, jewelry, collectibles, guns and any individual items of significant value. It’s a good idea if you’re using video to provide a narration as you walk through each room, explaining what you are recording.
A written inventory. You’ll also want to prepare a written inventory of your belongings. You can create a Word document on your computer or use a blank sheet of paper or a worksheet like this one from the National Association of Realtors. Keep your written inventory with receipts for items you’ve purchased.
Safe storage. If you have a fireproof safe, keep both your visual and written inventories there or in another safe place. You also may want to keep a copy off-site as well, in a safe-deposit box or with a trusted friend or family member. If your written and visual inventory is saved electronically, make sure it’s backed up.
Having a home inventory makes surviving and dealing with a home disaster a lot less stressful. Could you imagine trying to recount every single item in your home that was damaged, destroyed or stolen? With a home inventory, you’re more ready for the unexpected.