One World Realty in Jacksonville Florida
Charles Gaulden
904-859-1778904-859-1778

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 Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.
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Downpayment Assistant Funds Available on New Homes for First Time Homebuyer

Downpayment Assistant Funds Available on New Homes for First Time Homebuyers from New Home Builder FHA, VA, Conventional and USDA Loans.

Jacksonville, FL , Orange Park and other Areas.. Call Me Today to secure Your Funds…904-859-1778

FHA 203k & FANNIE MAE RENOVATION LOAN Changes

What are the maximum loan amounts allowed on a FHA 203k or Fannie Mae renovation loan? The max loan amounts are the same as the corresponding loan after down payment?

  • FHA 203K – The maximum loan amount for FHA loans in counties which make up Northeast Florida is now  $304,750 after down payment.
  • Fannie Mae Renovation loan – The maximum loan amount for a SFR is $417,000 after down payment. However, Fannie Mae loan limits are higher for multi-family properties. 2 units-$533,850; 3-units-$645,300; 4-units-$801,950
  • What are the benefits of HomePath mortgages? The biggest benefit has to do with condos since Fannie Mae HomePath condos do NOT require approval and there is NO appraisal.  For investors on HomePath the minimum down payment is just 10%, and for those buyers who want to perform all the repairs/improvements themselves, since there is no appraisal then can close and then start the work. NOTE – HomePath Renovation loans DO require appraisals and have different down payment requirements.
  • When writing a CONTRACT for an FHA 203k or Fannie Mae Conventional Renovation loan what additional information needs to be included? Generally, you will write the contract As-Is (not always for resales) for the sales price of the house. Just check “FHA” or “Conventional” like all transactions. Its best practice to note in “Other Terms & Conditions” that the “Buyer to use FHA 203k / Fannie Mae Homestyles Renovation loan to address property conditions”. There are times with a resale that you might write a clause involving value but not on REO or short sale properties.
  • When do your payments start on a FHA 203K or Fannie Mae renovation loan? Since in the end they are standard loans the first payment would be the same as every home loan. You close in December your first payment is February 1st. However, on projects where the house is not habitable or there is a larger scope of work, the buyer can finance up to 6 mortgage payments into the loan (or when the house is habitable).
  • “Special Financing” Signs for Listings – THEY WORK!

    If you have a less-than-perfect listing, outdated home for sale or Short Sale/REO listings, ask about our “Special Financing” signs. Combine the sign with the “Special Financing” flyers which alert potential buyers they can “Customize” or “Personalize” the home and traffic is guaranteed to increase.
    Example – I had an agent put a sign on a property Thursday afternoon. I had 3 calls by noon on Friday about the property which I re-routed to the agent.

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 or Fannie Mae conventional renovation loan

  • How much renovation can you do on a FHA 203k or Fannie Mae conventional renovation loan?  As far as the Scope of Work, you can literally take a home down to the foundation and build it back up from scratch. The only cap on the dollar amount of work has to do with appraised values, buyer qualifying and FHA county loan limits/Conventional loan limits.
  • Appraised Vale  – on FHA 203k you get up to 110% of the after-improved value. Conventional appraisals are standard with no buffer.
  • FHA loan limits – In Northeast FL the limit is $387,500 for SFR (after down payment).
  • Conventional loan limits – $417,000 (after down payment). Higher limits for 2-4 unit properties.
  • On Conventional Renovation loan what are some luxury items that are allowed? Swimming Pools, Summer Kitchens, Landscaping, work on Docks & Bulkheads, etc. Call for specific details or scenarios.
  • What are the benefits of HomePath mortgages? The biggest benefit has to do with condos since Fannie Mae HomePath condos do NOT require approval
    and there is NO appraisal.  For investors on HomePath the minimum down payment is just 10%, and for those buyers who want to perform all the repairs/improvements themselves, since there is no appraisal then can close and then start the work. NOTE – HomePath Renovation loans require appraisals and have different down payment requirements.
  • When writing a CONTRACT for an FHA 203k or Fannie Mae Conventional Renovation loan what additional information needs to be included? Generally, you will write the contract As-Is (not always for resales) for the sales price of the house. Just check “FHA” or “Conventional” like all transactions. Its best practice to note in “Other Terms & Conditions” that the “Buyer to use FHA 203k / Fannie Mae Homestyles Renovation loan to address property conditions”. There are times with a resale that you might write a clause involving value but not on REO or short sale properties.

FHA 203k and Fannie Mae renovation loans

  • How do you know the amount of money to include for repairs in a FHA 203k or Fannie Mae conventional loan? For the sake of getting an initial loan approval we either make an educated guess on repair costs or submit a loan to qualify for the MAXIMUM loan amount. However, when the Scope of Repairs (SOR) if finalized we simply edit the loan to match and update all numbers for the buyer. They key is getting that initial credit approval without waiting on the Scope of Repairs to be finalized.
    • ex: $150,000 sales price + $20,000 repairs = $170,000 loan for approval.
    • Final SOR comes in at $17,000 we adjust the loan to $167,000 prior to final approval and closing.
  • What happens if we Fannie Mae accepts our offer using a Homepath Renovation loan but it turns out FHA 203k was a better loan choice for the buyer? Simple edit. We can amend the contract to indicate buyer is using a FHA 203k loan. As long as Fannie Mae knows you are using the correct type of loan to get the property closed (renovation) they will allow you to edit the contract. Ideally, we will pre-approve the buyers prior to the offer so the initial contract is correct from the start.
  • What are the differences with when Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac is the seller on a REO property? Since they are officially government-backed agencies, both Freddie and Fannie are exempt from paying Deed Stamp Taxes unless specifically addressed on the REO contract addendum. In addition, much like a typical REO property, the seller will not pay the settlement fee ($450-$850) or survey ($350). NOTE – If the contract is written correctly, Fannie Mae will often pay up to 6% of buyers closing costs/prepaids (on owner occupied) and Freddie Mac will pay up to 3% of buyer’s closing costs/prepaids. Each property/asset manager can dictate what the bank will pay on behalf of the buyer.

For Sale 203K Renovation Projects in Jacksonville, Florida

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

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Green Cove Spring Homes For Sale 203k Renovation Special