One World Realty in Jacksonville Florida
Charles Gaulden

7 Steps before you Buy a Home

1. Decide how much home you can afford

Generally, you can afford a home priced 2 to 3 times your gross income. Remember to consider costs every homeowner must cover: property taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities, and community association fees, if applicable, as well as costs specific to your family, such as day care if you plan to have children.

2. Develop your home wish list

Be honest about which features you must have and which you’d like to have. Handicap accessibility for an aging parent or special needs child is a must. Granite countertops and stainless steel appliances are in the bonus category. Come up with your top-five must-haves and top-five wants to help you focus your search and make a logical, rather than emotional, choice when home shopping.

3. Select where you want to live

Make a list of your top-five community priorities, such as commute time, schools, and recreational facilities. Ask your REALTOR® to help you identify three to four target neighborhoods based on your priorities.

4. Start saving

Have you saved enough money to qualify for a mortgage and cover your downpayment? Ideally, you should have 20% of the purchase price set aside for a downpayment, but some lenders allow as little as 5% down. A small downpayment preserves your savings for emergencies.
However, the lower your downpayment, the higher the loan amount you’ll need to qualify for, and if you still qualify, the higher your monthly payment. Your downpayment size can also influence your interest rate and the type of loan you can get.
Finally, if your downpayment is less than 20%, you’ll be required to purchase private mortgage insurance. Depending on the size of your loan, PMI can add hundreds to your monthly payment. Check with your state and local government for mortgage and downpayment assistance programs for first-time buyers.

5. Ask about all the costs before you sign

A downpayment is just one homebuying cost. Your REALTOR® can tell you what other costs buyers commonly pay in your area—including home inspections, attorneys’ fees, and transfer fees of 2% to 7% of the home price. Tally up the extras you’ll also want to buy after you move-in, such as window coverings and patio furniture for your new yard.

6. Get your credit in order

A credit report details your borrowing history, including any late payments and bad debts, and typically includes a credit score. Lenders lean heavily on your credit report and credit score in determining whether, how much, and at what interest rate to lend for a home. Most require a minimum credit score of 620 for a home mortgage.
You’re entitled to free copies of your credit reports annually from the major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Order and then pore over them to ensure the information is accurate, and try to correct any errors before you buy. If your credit score isn’t up to snuff, the easiest ways to improve it are to pay every bill on time and pay down high credit card debt.

7. Get prequalified

Meet with a lender to get a prequalification letter that says how much house you’re qualified to buy. Start gathering the paperwork your lender says it needs. Most want to see W-2 forms verifying your employment and income, copies of pay stubs, and two to four months of banking statements.
If you’re self-employed, you’ll need your current profit and loss statement, a current balance sheet, and personal and business income tax returns for the previous two years.
Consider your financing options. The longer the loan, the smaller your monthly payment. Fixed-rate mortgages offer payment certainty; an adjustable-rate mortgage offers a lower monthly payment. However, an adjustable-rate mortgage may adjust dramatically. Be sure to calculate your affordability at both the lowest and highest possible ARM rate.

More from HouseLogic

Learn how Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages can help you save on financing
Learn more about the costs of homeownership

Other web resources

Homebuyer counseling resources

Get a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who has thrice survived the homebuying process. A frequent contributor to many national publications including, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.
Read more: Follow us: @houselogic on Twitter | houselogic on Facebook

HomePath Renovation & FHA 203k mortgage

What is the minimum down payment on a HomePath Renovation loan? There have been changes to HomePath loans when it comes to the minimum investment. These are all for SFR as multi-units have different guidelines.

    • HomePath – 95% for owner occupied; 90% for second homes and 90% for investment properties.
    • HomePath Renovation – 95% for owner occupied; 90% for second homes and 85% for investment properties.
    • Homestyles (Conventional Renovation) 95% for owner occupied; 90% for second homes and 80% for investment properties.
  • Can HomePath Renovation be used on any REO property? NO. HomePath and HomePath Renovation financing only apply to Fannie Mae foreclosures. To find out if a property is eligible, simple visit

to see if the corresponding logo is attached to the property. NOTE – just because a property is listed as “HomePath Renovation” eligible, it does NOT mean that it’s the best product for the home. We evaluate each property and buyer to apply the most suitable finance options since we have 5 different Renovation Loans.

  • Can you do structural work when using a FHA 203k mortgage? YES. FHA 203k loans allow for almost any permanent repair or improvement on the home, including razing the home and building a new home from the foundation up. While there are still antiquated guidelines with FHA which limit certain repairs, we generally have a solution for a necessary repair/improvement.

FHA 203k and Fannie Mae Renovation loans

  • When is the appraisal ordered on a FHA 203k and Fannie Mae Renovation loans? We do not order the appraisal until the detailed Scope of Work is completed and signed by the buyer and the contractor. The appraisal is performed Subject-To the After-Improved value. On FHA 203k you get up to 110% of the After-Improved value which means a 10% buffer. All repairs are done AFTER CLOSING.
  • What happens if the utilities CANNOT be turned on with a property because of leaks, extended vacancy, etc? With the renovation loan we would include the cost of any necessary repairs AND we will always keep at least 15% contingency money in the case there are additional repairs needed. Example – Cost of work = $10,000. Contingency would be at least $1,500. For homes that have been vacant for least 12 months – JEA will require an electrical inspection and city inspection prior to activating the power or water.
  • How is the down payment calculated on a FHA 203k loan? The minimum 3.5% down payment is calculated off the sales price of the house plus the cost of rehabilitation or repairs. Example: $100,000 sales price + $15,000 repairs = $115,000 x 3.5% = $4,025. A buyer can certainly choose to have a larger down payment but these are the minimums.
  • Are Renovation loans – FHA 203k and Fannie Mae Homestlyes – good for Refinances too? Yes. You can Refinance & Renovate which means not only lowering your interest rate, but also including the cost of improvements as well. 3 great advantages:
  • Appraisal is based on After-Improved Value
  • FHA 203k – you get up to 110% of the after-Improved Value.
  • Closing costs can be financed into the loan
  • On FHA 203k and Fannie Mae Renovation loans can the buyers act as their own contractor? While the guidelines on some versions of the loans allow for “Self Help”, both HUD and Fannie Mae discourage the practice because of the level of risk. The guidelines call for the buyers to be licensed/insured contractors AND there are NO upfront monies provided for materials. So, the buyers must prove the ability to perform the job in workmanlike manner AND have sufficient funds for both the loan and repairs. There are other guidelines that restrict the amount of work that can be done in a “Self Help” transaction.

FHA 203k & Conventional Renovation

  • With FHA 203k or conventional renovation, if a WDO inspection indicates a house has Live Termites does the seller/bank have to treat the house before closing? NO. As long as the treatment is listed on the Scope of Repairs it will be done AFTER CLOSING like everything on a FHA 203k or Conventional renovation loan.
  • If a home is partially rehabbed but still needs wall, plumbing, electrical etc., can that be finished with a FHA 203k or Conventional renovation loan? YES. As long as the home was existing and was originally issued a certificate of occupancy (1 year for FHA) you can complete the work in your loan. However, on Conventional Renovation loans you CAN complete a new home that was never finished or issued a certificate of occupancy (or add a pool).
  • Can someone purchase and renovate a 4-unit property with an FHA 203k loan? YES. You can do up to 4 units as long as you live in one of the units as your primary home. NOTE – The buyer can use projected rental income from the other 3 units to help qualify for the loan.  
  • What is the minimum credit score for a Fannie Mae HomePath or HomePath Renovation loan?
  • HomePath -LTV greater than 80% –  660 and auto approve in desktop underwriting (DU); LTV less than 80% determined by DU but generally 620.
  • HomePath Renovation – LTV greater than 80% –  660 and auto approve in desktop underwriting (DU); LTV less than 80% determined by DU but generally 620.

For Sale 203K Renovation Projects in Jacksonville, Florida

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Green Cove Spring, Fl- Homes For Sale – Florida Homes – Homes For Sale

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This Beautiful Log Cabin Home For Sale in GREEN COVE SPR , FLORIDA  32043


Green Cove Spring, Fl Homes For Sale 203k Renovation Special

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Green Cove Spring Homes For Sale 203k Renovation Special